Genetically modified insect

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A genetically modified insect is an insect that has been genetically modified for various reasons such as agricultural production,[1] oil production[2] and pest control.[3]

In biological research, transgenic fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are model organisms used to study the effects of genetic changes on development.[4] Fruit flies are often preferred over other animals due to their short life cycle, low maintenance requirements, and relatively simple genome compared to many vertebrates.


The first release of modified mosquitoes were performed in the 1970s. It was mosquitoes of the species that transmit the dengue virus, that were sterilised by irradiation (sterile insect technique).[5]

The British company Oxitec use a technique called RIDL (Release of Insects with Dominant Lethality), that can produce fertile male adults that induce a high mortality of the descendants. The adults generated with this technique and released in the environment are not sterile but their descendants have a survival rate of 0% (this lethality can be switched off by introducing tetracycline into their diet).[6][7] This company is currently(written 3/23/15) working on releasing these insects into Florida Keys, reducing the amount of wild insects that carry disease.

Species modified[edit]

For confined scientific research[edit]

For commercial uses[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ New Report Finds Genetically Modified Insects May Offer Public Health And Agricultural Benefits, But Clear Regulatory Oversight Is Lacking
  2. ^ Chris Ayres, "Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol",, 14 June 2008 (page visited on 21 September 2013).
  3. ^ Scientists are currently working on using them for disease control(see "Methods") Genetically modified insects prevent disease
  4. ^ First Transgenic Mice and Fruit Flies
  5. ^ Carpenter, Jennifer (11 August 2011) Spermless mosquitoes hold promise to stop malaria BBC News, Science & Environment, Retrieved 17 August 2014
  6. ^ Leftwich, Philip et al. (2014). "Genetic elimination of field-cage populations of Mediterranean fruit flies". Proceedings of the Royal Society (Royal Society Publishing) 281 (1792). doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1372.  edit
  7. ^ Wise De Valdez, M. R.; Nimmo, D.; Betz, J.; Gong, H. -F.; James, A. A.; Alphey, L.; Black, W. C. (2011). "Genetic elimination of dengue vector mosquitoes". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (12): 4772. doi:10.1073/pnas.1019295108.  edit

See also[edit]

External links[edit]