Authors: Colin V. Prescotta*, Alan P. Bucklea, J. George Gibbingsb, Ed N.W. Allana & Alexander M. Stuart
A sample of 10 Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) was taken for DNA resistance testing from an agricultural site in Kent where applications of the anticoagulant rodenticide bromadiolone had been unsuccessful. All animals tested were homozygous for the single nucleotide VKORC1 polymorphism tyrosine139phenylalanine, or Y139F. This is a common resistance mutation found extensively in France and Belgium but not previously in the UK. Y139F confers a significant level of resistance to first-generation anticoagulants, such as chlorophacinone, and to the second-generation compound bromadiolone. Another compound widely used in the UK, difenacoum, is also thought to be partially resisted by rats which carry Y139F. A silent VKORC1 mutation was also found in all rats tested. The presence of a third important VKORC1 mutation which confers resistance to anticoagulant rodenticides in widespread use in the UK, the others being Y139C and L120Q, further threatens the ability of pest control practitioners to deliver effective rodent control.