Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology


Herbivorous insects encounter a variety of toxic environmental substances ranging from ingested plant defensive compounds to human-introduced insecticidal agents. Dietary antioxidants are known to reduce the negative physiological impacts of toxins in mammalian systems through amelioration of reactive oxygen-related cellular damage. The analogous impacts to insects caused by multigenerational exposure to pesticides and the effects on adaptive responses within insect populations, however, are currently unknown. To address these research gaps, we used Drosophila as a model system to explore adaptive phenotypic responses to acute dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure in the presence of the dietary antioxidant vitamin C and to examine the structural genomic consequences of this exposure. DDT resistance increased significantly among four replicates exposed to a low concentration of DDT for 10 generations. In contrast, dietary intake of vitamin C significantly reduced DDT resistance after mutigenerational exposure to the same concentration of DDT. As to the genomic consequences, no significant differences were predicted in overall nucleotide substitution rates across the genome between any of the treatments. Despite this, replicates exposed to a low concentration of DDT without vitamin C showed the highest number of synonymous and non-synonymous variants (3196 in total), followed by the DDT plus vitamin C (1174 in total), and vitamin C alone (728 in total) treatments. This study demonstrates the potential role of diet (specifically, antioxidant intake) on adaptive genome responses, and thus on the evolution of pesticide resistance within insect populations.





UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This research was a joint contribution from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) (CRIS Project 5030-22000-018-00D), and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, IA (Project 3543). Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider. Jingfei Huang was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31701806), the Program of Fujian Key Laboratory for Monitoring and Integrated Management of Crop Pests (No. MIMCP201803) and a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council.