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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Handler, Alfred - Al
item Atkinson, Peter

Submitted to: International Atomic Energy Agency
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2006
Publication Date: 11/1/2006
Citation: Handler, A.M., Atkinson, P.W. 2006. AREAS OF CONCERN FOR THE EVALUATION OF TRANSGENIC ARTHROPODS. International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA Tech. Doc 1483.pps. 46-56.

Interpretive Summary: The ability to achieve gene transfer in economically important insects for the development of more effective biological control programs is a major goal of our laboratory at CMAVE. Development of this methodology and strategies to effectively and safely utilize transgenic insects for biocontrol will depend upon a comprehensive analysis of various potential risks. These relate to the stability of the transgenic strain so that it maintains effectiveness over many generations, typically under mass-rearing. Of equal importance is ecological safety in terms of the potential for movement of the transgene from the original host into other species with which it interacts. This article addresses the major areas of concern for these risks in terms of the insect species being manipulated, the gene-transfer vector system used, and the specific genes and DNA sequences integrated into the transgenic host insect. This information can then be used to develop guidelines for the creation of effective and ecologically safe transgenic insects, as well as methods to test and assess these attributes.

Technical Abstract: Areas of concern for the release of transgenic insects relate to risks associated with: 1) the host insect involved, 2) the vector used for gene transfer, 3) genes of interest within the vector including markers, and 4) the expected persistence of the transgenic strain in the environment. The transgenic insect must be considered in terms of whether it is a pest or beneficial insect and risks relevant to its use as a non-transgenic insect. The vector used for gene transfer must be considered in terms of its mobility properties in the host insect and its potential for intea-genomic and inter-genomic movement, potentially mediated by a cross-mobilizing system. Intea-genomic movement may influence the expected expression and activity of gene of interest within the transgene, possibly having unanticpated effects on the host and, thus, program effectiveness. Inter-genomic movement is of considerable importance since risks must be evaluated in terms of the effects of the vector system and genes of interest on a multitude of potental host organisms. Risk assessment for transgene stability requires methods for transformant identification and a full genetic analysis of the transformed genome so changes in transgene presence or movement can be rapidly and reliably determined. Genes of interest within the transgene must be evaluated in terms of their affect on the host insect, and the potential influence of their gene products on the environment and other organisms should the transgene be transmitted to another host. These factors must be considered individually, their interaction with one another, and also in the context of transformant strain persistence in the field.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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