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Mol Gen Genet. 1993 Jul;240(1):17-22.

Knockdown resistance (kdr) to DDT and pyrethroid insecticides maps to a sodium channel gene locus in the housefly (Musca domestica).

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  • 1Institute of Arable Crops Research, Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK.


The voltage-sensitive sodium channel is generally regarded as the primary target site of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane (DDT) and pyrethroid insecticides, and has been implicated in the widely reported mechanism of nerve insensitivity to these compounds. This phenomenon is expressed as knockdown resistance (kdr) and has been best characterised in the housefly where several putative alleles, including the more potent super-kdr factor, have been identified. We report the isolation of cDNA clones containing part of a housefly sodium channel gene, designated Msc, which show close homology to the para sodium channel of Drosophila (99% amino acid identity within the region of overlap). Using Southern blots of insect DNA, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) at the Msc locus were identified in susceptible, kdr and super-kdr housefly strains. These RFLPs showed tight linkage to resistance in controlled crosses involving these strains, thus providing clear genetic evidence that kdr, and hence pyrethroid mode of action, is closely associated with the voltage-sensitive sodium channel.

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