Altered acetylcholinesterase (AChE) has been identified in numerous arthropod species resistant to organophosphate (OP) and carbamate insecticides. The New World screwworm (NWS) Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), one of the most important myiasis-causing flies in the Neotropics, has been controlled mainly by the application of OP insecticides in its current geographical distribution. However, few studies have investigated insecticide resistance in this species. Based on previous studies about mutations conferring OP resistance in related dipteran species, AChE cDNA was sequenced allowing a survey for mutations (I298V, G401A, F466Y) in NWS populations. In addition, the G137D mutation in the carboxylesterase E3 gene, also associated with OP resistance, was analyzed in the same NWS populations. Only 2/135 individuals presented an altered AChE gene (F466Y). In contrast, a high frequency of the G137D mutation in the E3 gene was found in some localities of Brazil and Uruguay, while the mutant allele was not found in Cuba, Venezuela or Colombia. These findings suggest that the alteration in the carboxylesterase E3 gene may be one of the main resistance mechanisms selected in this ectoparasite. The knowledge of the frequency of these resistance-associated mutations in the NWS natural populations may contribute to the selection of appropriate chemicals for control as part of pest management strategies. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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