Vermont Study Provides Insight on How Colorado Potato Beetles Overcome Pesticides

A study published by the University of Vermont in Evolutionary Applications revealed that the Colorado Potato Beetle uses DNA methylation to respond to pesticide exposure. Turning certain genes on or off helps the beetle adapt biological defense mechanisms, such as enzyme flush or faster excretion, to overcome the effects of pesticides. These defenses are the same ones that help the beetle overcome the plant-based toxins in potatoes themselves. Researchers found that the effects of the methylation persist for at least two generations. This discovery helps explain how Colorado Potato Beetles withstand insecticide exposure, and how they develop pesticide resistance.