An esterase gene from the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus that is responsible for resistance to a variety of organophosphorus (OP) insecticides was cloned in lambda gt11 phage. This gene was used to investigate the genetic mechanism of the high production of the esterase B1 it encodes in OP-resistant Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Tem-R strain) from California. Adults of the Tem-R strain were found to possess at least 250 times more copies of the gene than adults of a susceptible strain (S-Lab). The finding that selection by pesticides may result in the amplification of genes encoding detoxifying enzymes in whole, normally developed, reproducing insects emphasizes the biological importance of this mechanism and opens new areas of investigation in pesticide resistance management.

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