Challenges in estimating insecticide selection pressures from mosquito field data.

Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (Impact Factor: 4.57). 11/2011; 5(11):e1387. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001387
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Insecticide resistance has the potential to compromise the enormous effort put into the control of dengue and malaria vector populations. It is therefore important to quantify the amount of selection acting on resistance alleles, their contributions to fitness in heterozygotes (dominance) and their initial frequencies, as a means to predict the rate of spread of resistance in natural populations. We investigate practical problems of obtaining such estimates, with particular emphasis on Mexican populations of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti. Selection and dominance coefficients can be estimated by fitting genetic models to field data using maximum likelihood (ML) methodology. This methodology, although widely used, makes many assumptions so we investigated how well such models perform when data are sparse or when spatial and temporal heterogeneity occur. As expected, ML methodologies reliably estimated selection and dominance coefficients under idealised conditions but it was difficult to recover the true values when datasets were sparse during the time that resistance alleles increased in frequency, or when spatial and temporal heterogeneity occurred. We analysed published data on pyrethroid resistance in Mexico that consists of the frequency of a Ile1,016 mutation. The estimates for selection coefficient and initial allele frequency on the field dataset were in the expected range, dominance coefficient points to incomplete dominance as observed in the laboratory, although these estimates are accompanied by strong caveats about possible impact of spatial and temporal heterogeneity in selection.

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