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Adv Virus Res. 2006;68:323-60.

Genetically modified baculoviruses: a historical overview and future outlook.

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Department of Entomology and Cancer Research Center University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


The concept of using genetic engineering to improve the natural insecticidal activity of baculoviruses emerged during the 1980s. Both academic and industrial laboratories have since invested a great deal of effort to generate genetically modified (GM) or recombinant baculoviruses with dramatically improved speeds of kill. Optimal production methodologies and formulations have also been developed, and the safety and ecology of the recombinant baculoviruses have been thoroughly investigated. Unfortunately, the initial excitement that was generated by these technologies was tempered when industry made a critical decision to not complete the registration process of GM baculoviruses for pest insect control. In this chapter, we summarize the developments in the field from a historical perspective and provide our opinions as to the current status and future potential of the technology. We will argue that GM baculoviruses are valuable and viable tools for pest insect control both alone and in combination with wild-type viruses. We believe that these highly effective biopesticides still have a bright future in modern agriculture as public awareness and acceptance of GM organisms, including GM baculoviruses, increases.

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