Submitted to: Journal of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/21/2000
Publication Date: 2/1/2001
Citation: Handler, A.M. 2001. A current perspective on insect gene transfer. Journal of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 31:111-128.
Interpretive Summary: The ability to achieve gene transfer in economically important insects will contribute to enhanced efficiency and effectiveness for use of the sterile insect technique to control fruit flies. Development of this methodology and strategies to effectively and safely utilize transgenic insects for biological control has and will depend upon collaborative interactions and communication among a wide variety of scientists. This review article will help to educate many of the researchers who may wish to use this technology, but presently have a limited background regarding the history and methodology of insect gene transfer. It discusses early attempts at gene transfer before molecular tools were available, and more recent attempts using a variety of vector and marker systems. A detailed overview is given of the current techniques used for insect transformation that may be used or modified for use in a variety of insect systems. Finally, risk assessment and safety issues are addresse that will be essential for the study and release of transgenic insects.
Technical Abstract: The genetic transformation of nondrosophilid insects is now possible with several systems, with germline transformation reported in published and unpublished accounts for about 10 species using four different transposon vectors. For some of these species, transformation can now be considered routine. Other vector systems include viruses and bacterial symbionts that have demonstrated utility in species and applications requiring transient expression, and for some, the potential exists for genomic integration. Many of these findings are quite recent, presenting a dramatic turning point in our ability to study and manipulate agriculturally and medically important insects. This review discusses these findings from the perspective of all the contributions that has made this technology a reality, the research that has yet to be done for its safe and efficient use in a broader range of species, and an overview of the available methodology to effectively utilize these systems.