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The dietary specialist fruit fly Drosophila sechellia has evolved resistance to the secondary defense compounds produced by the fruit of its host plant, Morinda citrifolia. The primary chemicals that contribute to lethality of M. citrofolia are the medium-chain fatty acids octanoic acid (OA) and hexanoic acid (HA). At least five genomic regions contribute to this adaptation in D. sechellia and while the fine-mapped major effect locus for OA resistance on chromosome 3R has been thoroughly analyzed, the remaining four genomic regions that contribute to toxin resistance remain uncharacterized. To begin to identify the genetic basis of toxin resistance in this species, we removed the function of well-known detoxification gene families to determine whether they contribute to toxin resistance. Previous work found that evolution of cytochrome P450 enzymatic activity or expression is not responsible for the OA resistance in D. sechellia. Here, we tested the role of the two other major detoxification gene families in resistance to Morinda fruit toxins - glutathione-S-transferases and esterases through the use of pesticide synergists diethyl maleate and tribufos that inhibit the function of these gene families. This work suggests that one or more esterase(s) contribute to evolved OA resistance in D. sechellia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Insect molecular biology
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