Genetic transformation systems in insects

Annu Rev Entomol. 2001;46:317-46. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.46.1.317.


The past 5 years have witnessed the emergence of techniques that permit the stable genetic transformation of a number of non-drosophilid insect species. These transposable-element-based strategies, together with virus-based techniques that allow the expression of genes to be quickly examined in insects, provide insect scientists with a first generation of genetic tools that can begin to be harnessed to further increase our understanding of gene function and regulation in insects. We review and compare the characteristics of these gene transfer systems and conclude that, although significant progress has been made, these systems still do not meet the requirements of robust genetic tools. We also review risk assessment issues arising from the generation and probable release of genetically engineered insects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Transformation, Genetic*


  • DNA Transposable Elements