Prospects for using genetic transformation for improved SIT and new biocontrol methods

Genetica. 2002 Sep;116(1):137-49. doi: 10.1023/a:1020924028450.


The genetic manipulation of non-drosophilid insect species is possible by the creation of recombinant DNA constructs that can be integrated into host genomes by several transposon-based vector systems. This technology will allow the development and testing of a variety of systems that can improve existing biological control methods, and the development of new highly efficient methods. For programs such as sterile insect technique (SIT), transgenic strains may include fluorescent protein marker genes for detection of released insects, and conditional gene expression systems that will result in male sterility and female lethality for genetic sexing. Conditional expression systems include the yeast GAL4 system and the bacterial Tet-off and Tet-on systems that can, respectively, negatively or positively regulate expression of genes for lethality or sterility depending on a dietary source of tetracycline. Importantly, strains for male sterility must also incorporate an effective system for genetic sexing, since typically, surviving females would remain fertile. Models for the use of these expression systems and associated genetic material come from studies in Drosophila and, while many of these systems should be transferable to other insects, continued research will be necessary in insects of interest to clone genes, optimize germ-line transformation, and perform vector stability studies and risk assessment for their release as transgenic strains.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Identification Systems
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Recombinant / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / physiology
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Pest Control, Biological / methods*
  • Pest Control, Biological / trends
  • Sex Determination Processes
  • Sex Preselection / methods*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Genetic Markers
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins