We read with interest Harvey Black's recent article on transgenic insects ("Scientists Refining Methods For Genetically Altering Insects," The Scientist, Oct. 13, 1997, page 1). While the report was timely and informative and included the majority of the major transposon systems being examined for this purpose, the highly promising results that have been obtained using the piggyBac transposon in diverse insect orders were overlooked.

This short, inverted-repeat transposon was originally isolated as an insertion within the genome of baculovirus mutants derived following replication in a lepidopteran cell line (M.J. Fraser et al., Journal of Virology, 47:287-300, 1983; L.C. Cary et al., Virology, 172:156-69, 1989). The capacity of piggyBac to function as a genetic vector for lepidopterans has been demonstrated in vitro (M.J. Fraser et al., Virology, 211:397-407, 1995). More recently, an in vivo demonstration of transformation has been accomplished in the Mediterranean...

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