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Insect Control: Resistance Management and Agricultural Economics

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Bonsall
    Dr L Alphey
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisors: Dr Mike Bonsall, Drs Neil Morrison & Luke Alphey

Concerns over the impacts of insecticides, and the evolution of resistance in pest populations, are driving development of novel and sustainable pest control tools. The diamondback moth (DBM) is the major global brassica pest, and has developed resistance to conventional insecticides [1] and biopesticides [2]. Current resistance management using pesticide rotations is difficult with a restricted range of available products. Genetic technology has enabled the development of the RIDL (Release of Insects Carrying a Dominant Lethal) method in DBM [3,4]. Female RIDL insects die unless provided without a dietary ‘antidote’ to the genetic system; this allows large numbers of single-sex (male) moths to be efficiently produced. For control of wild DBM, RIDL males would be released over the crop: after mating with wild females all female progeny die, reducing the size and reproductive capacity of the population. RIDL male releases can have additional resistance management benefits: survival of their male progeny in the field leads to introgression of insecticide-susceptibility genes into the wild population.

This studentship project will build on previous mathematical modelling of resistance management using RIDL [5,6]. The effects of RIDL male releases on the evolution and management of Bt resistance in DBM populations will be investigated in both laboratory and contained glasshouse experiments. Data will be used to develop appropriate cost-effective economic models for incorporation of RIDL into integrated pest management strategies.

To apply please use the online application system at: The DPhil in Zoology code is 001730. Please remember to also quote the studentship reference code BON01 in the funding section. Please contact [Email Address Removed] with any queries regarding the application procedure. The closing date is 15th March 2013. Please note that as this is a studentship project, no research proposal is required; please submit a statement of purpose/personal statement in its place. The University of Oxford is an Equal Opportunities employer.

Funding Notes

The full 4 year award, including a stipend from BBSRC (currently £13,590pa) is available only to residents of the UK, or those satisfying the BBSRC eligibility criteria ( Please see BBSRC website for full terms and conditions. EU applicants are eligible for a fees only award.


1 Johnson, et al. 1953 J Econ Entomol 46:176.
2 Tabashnik et al. 1990 J Econ Entomol 83:1671.
3 Thomas et al. 2000 Science 287:2474.
4 Jin et al. In press ACS Synth Biol (
5 Alphey et al. 2007 J Econ Entomol 100:1642.
6 Alphey et al. 2009 J Econ Entomol 102:717.

How good is research at University of Oxford in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 223.80

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