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Insecticide-resistant fruit flies can disperse and transfer their genes over large areas in very short periods of time, according to new research.

The findings, published in this week's Science have implications for efforts to control insect-borne diseases such as malaria by spraying insecticides that can often be harmful, such as DDT.

An international team of researchers led by P.J. Daborn of the University of Bath, United Kingdom, found that a unique form of a single gene makes fruit flies resistant to DDT, and over the past 40 years it has spread to at least 28 fruit fly strains around the world.

In a related perspective article in Science, I. Denholm and others note that these results highlight the need for international cooperation in managing insecticide resistance.

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