Acta Entomologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (2): 246-256.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2022.02.013

• REVIEW ARTICLES • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Studies and applications of gene editing technology in insects

QIU Yu-Hao1,2, JIA Yu1,2, NI Jian-Quan2,*, WANG Bing1,*, WANG Gui-Rong1   

  1.  (1. State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China; 2. Gene Regulatory Laboratory, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China)
  • Online:2022-02-20 Published:2022-01-28

Abstract:  The development of gene editing technology is of great significance for the study of physiological functions such as growth, development and reproduction of insects, as well as the mechanism of behavior manipulation. In this article, we introduced the development history of gene editing technology, and described the principles of zinc finger nuclease (ZFN), transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated (Cas) protein 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system-mediated gene site-editing technologies. In the model insect Drosophila, the third-generation gene editing technology is continuously upgraded and optimized. It has such advantages as high editing efficiency, heritability, and facilitating screening, which helps to reveal the mechanism of key signal pathways in cell biology, developmental biology and neurobiology. In the medical vector insect mosquito, the CRISPR/Cas9 system-mediated gene editing technology has important research value in reducing pesticide resistance, and controlling the population and epidemic spread of mosquito-borne diseases. In the study of agricultural pests, the use of gene editing technology can perform the in vivo functional characterization of the key molecular targets in multiple signaling pathways, providing a new idea for pest management. In the study of beneficial insects, gene editing technology is mainly applied to studying sex regulation and antiviral ability of Bombyx mori, and improving silk quality. Finally, we debate the future prospects for the study of the gene editing technology in insects: (1) to optimize gene editing systems to improve editing efficiency; (2) to develop new gene regulation tools; and (3) to construct transgenic insect strains, in order to provide references for the analysis of insect gene function, the improvement of economic insects, and the control of major pests.

Key words: Gene function, gene editing technology, zinc finger nuclease, transcription activator-like effector nuclease, CRISPR/Cas9