ARS researchers have developed a transformation system that can be used to genetically transform insects. The system uses a gene transfer vector containing a modified piggyBac transposon and flourescent protein markers used for transformant selection and identifying field released insects caught in traps. This system can be used to transfer genes to improve sterile-release programs and other pest control measures. ARS researchers have demonstrated the system’s effectiveness in tephritid fruit flies, including the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Oriental fruit flies, as well as in Anopheline mosquitoes. This invention is a major breakthrough for transposon-based transformation systems in insects. Other vector systems do not function as well, or have other limitations. This invention could be used to introduce genes to mark populations so scientists can track and learn about it, develop a system that can spread certain beneficial genes into a particular insect population, and to introduce genes to create sterile insects for use in sterile-release pest control programs.
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies could use this invention. Also, companies involved in insect mass rearing for release programs.
Please refer to USPN 7,129,083 (Docket #0203.00), "Piggybac Transformation System," which issued on October 31, 2006, and is a cip of USPN 6,773,914, which issued on August 10, 2004. Foreign rights are available.
Alfred M. Handler
Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research
Gainesville, Florida 32608
(352) 374-5793 / Fax: (352) 374-5781