Role of Mixed-Function Oxidases in Insecticide Resistance

  • C. F. Wilkinson


The realization that insects were able to metabolize modern synthetic organic insecticides, and that insect resistance to these insecticides was often associated with an enhanced metabolic detoxi-cation capability, came initially as something of a shock during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was difficult to comprehend how any organism could possibly attain the complex enzymatic machinery necessary to metabolize such a chemical, which until a few short years earlier had never even seen the light of day and the development of which clearly could not have been foreseen by the insect at which it was directed. Could it really be that the chemical itself was in some way dictating the synthesis of new enzymes, a heretical evolutionary thought, or was it possible that the insects were pre-adaptively equipped to metabolize the insecticide? The latter was obviously a more comfortable concept from a genetic, evolutionary standpoint, although it posed some difficult questions regarding the natural substrates and catalytic functions of the insecticide-metabolizing enzymes.


Insect Resistance Organophosphorus Compound MUsca Domestica Carbamate Insecticide Cabbage Looper 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. F. Wilkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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