Isolation of a Deet-Insensitive Mutant of Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera: Drosophilidae)

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Despite the widespread use of N,N,-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (deet) in insect repellent products, nothing is known about the molecular basis for the repellency of deet. We initiated a molecular genetics program to elucidate the molecular mechanism of deet repellency in Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen). Deet repellency was apparently due to airborne vapors, as wild type flies were repelled by a deet-treated surface in the absence of physical contact and in the dark. A mutant was isolated using chemical mutagenesis and a choice assay. In a choice assay, mutant flies entered 82 ± 1% of deet-containing tubes, whereas wild type flies entered only 6 ± 2% of deet-containing tubes. The mutant was repelled by other repellents, benzaldehyde and citronellal. The mutation was recessive and located on the X chromosome.

Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster; deet; deet-insensitive mutant; repellency

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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