Managing insecticide resistance by mass release of engineered insects.
Alphey N., Coleman PG., Donnelly CA., Alphey L.
Transgenic crops producing insecticidal toxins are now widely used to control insect pests. The benefits of this method would be lost if resistance to the toxins spread to a significant proportion of the pest population. The primary resistance management method, mandatory in the United States, is the high-dose/ refuge strategy, requiring toxin-free crops as refuges near the insecticidal crops, and the use of toxin doses sufficiently high to kill insects heterozygous for a resistance allele, thereby rendering resistance functionally recessive. We propose that mass-release of harmless susceptible (toxin-sensitive) insects could substantially delay or even reverse the spread of resistance. Mass-release of such insects is an integral part of release of insects carrying a dominant lethal (RIDL), a method of pest control related to the sterile insect technique. We show by mathematical modeling that specific RIDL strategies could form an effective component of a resistance management strategy for plant-incorporated protectants and other toxins.