Insect transgenesis: current applications and future prospects

Annu Rev Entomol. 2012;57:267-89. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090545.


The ability to manipulate the genomes of many insects has become a practical reality over the past 15 years. This has been led by the identification of several useful transposon vector systems that have allowed the identification and development of generalized, species-specific, and tissue-specific promoter systems for controlled expression of gene products upon introduction into insect genomes. Armed with these capabilities, researchers have made significant strides in both fundamental and applied transgenics in key model systems such as Bombyx mori, Tribolium casteneum, Aedes aegypti, and Anopheles stephensi. Limitations of transposon systems were identified, and alternative tools were developed, thus significantly increasing the potential for applied transgenics for control of both agricultural and medical insect pests. The next 10 years promise to be an exciting time of transitioning from the laboratory to the field, from basic research to applied control, during which the full potential of gene manipulation in insect systems will ultimately be realized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Gene Transfer Techniques / trends*
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Insecta / metabolism
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Pest Control
  • Recombinases / metabolism
  • Transgenes


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Recombinases