Most tools available for manipulating gene function in insects have been developed for holometabolous species. In contrast, functional genetics tools for the Hemimetabola are highly underdeveloped. This is a barrier both to understanding ancestral insect biology, and to optimizing contemporary study and manipulation of particular large hemimetabolous orders of crucial economic and agricultural importance like the Orthoptera. For orthopteran insects, including crickets, the rapid spread of next-generation sequencing technology has made transcriptome data available for a wide variety of species over the past decade. Furthermore, whole genome sequences of orthopteran insects with relatively large genome sizes are now available. With these new genome assemblies and the development of genome editing technologies such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system, it has become possible to create gene knock-out and knock-in strains in orthopteran insects. As a result, orthopteran species should become increasingly feasible for laboratory study not only in research fields that have traditionally used insects, but also in agricultural fields that use them as food and feed. In this review, we summarize these recent advances and their relevance to such applications.
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