• Article

Impact of agriculture on the selection of insecticide resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae : A multigenerational study in controlled conditions

BackgroundResistance of mosquitoes to insecticides is mainly attributed to their adaptation to vector control interventions. Although pesticides used in agriculture have been frequently mentioned as an additional force driving the selection of resistance, only a few studies were dedicated to validate this hypothesis and characterise the underlying mechanisms. While insecticide resistance is rising dramatically in Africa, deciphering how agriculture affects resistance is crucial for improving resistance management strategies. In this context, the multigenerational effect of agricultural pollutants on the selection of insecticide resistance was examined in Anopheles gambiae.MethodsAn urban Tanzanian An. gambiae population displaying a low resistance level was used as a parental strain for a selection experiment across 20 generations. At each generation larvae were selected with a mixture containing pesticides and herbicides classically used in agriculture in Africa. The resistance levels of adults to deltamethrin, DDT and bendiocarb were compared between the selected and non-selected strains across the selection process together with the frequency of kdr mutations. A microarray approach was used for pinpointing transcription level variations selected by the agricultural pesticide mixture at the adult stage.ResultsA gradual increase of adult resistance to all insecticides was observed across the selection process. The frequency of the L1014S kdr mutation rose from 1.6% to 12.5% after 20 generations of selection. Microarray analysis identified 90 transcripts over-transcribed in the selected strain as compared to the parental and the non-selected strains. Genes encoding cuticle proteins, detoxification enzymes, proteins linked to neurotransmitter activity and transcription regulators were mainly affected. RT-qPCR transcription profiling of candidate genes across multiple generations supported their link with insecticide resistance.ConclusionsThis study confirms the potency of agriculture in selecting for insecticide resistance in malaria vectors. We demonstrated that the recurrent exposure of larvae to agricultural pollutants can select for resistance mechanisms to vector control insecticides at the adult stage. Our data suggest that in addition to selected target-site resistance mutations, agricultural pollutants may also favor cuticle, metabolic and synaptic transmission-based resistance mechanisms. These results emphasize the need for integrated resistance management strategies taking into account agriculture activities


Nkya, T., Poupardin, R., Laporte, F., Akhouayri, I., Mosha, F., Magesa, S., ... David, JP. (2014). Impact of agriculture on the selection of insecticide resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae : A multigenerational study in controlled conditions. Parasites & Vectors, 7(1), 480. https://doi.org/10.1186/PREACCEPT-1961934091135119