Transgenic Research

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1057–1068 | Cite as

Not all GMOs are crop plants: non-plant GMO applications in agriculture

  • K. E. HokansonEmail author
  • W. O. Dawson
  • A. M. Handler
  • M. F. Schetelig
  • R. J. St. Leger


Since tools of modern biotechnology have become available, the most commonly applied and often discussed genetically modified organisms are genetically modified crop plants, although genetic engineering is also being used successfully in organisms other than plants, including bacteria, fungi, insects, and viruses. Many of these organisms, as with crop plants, are being engineered for applications in agriculture, to control plant insect pests or diseases. This paper reviews the genetically modified non-plant organisms that have been the subject of permit approvals for environmental release by the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service since the US began regulating genetically modified organisms. This is an indication of the breadth and progress of research in the area of non-plant genetically modified organisms. This review includes three examples of promising research on non-plant genetically modified organisms for application in agriculture: (1) insects for insect pest control using improved vector systems; (2) fungal pathogens of insects to control insect pests; and (3) virus for use as transient-expression vectors for disease control in plants.


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) GM insects GM fungi GM virus 



Funding for the research described in the section by Handler and Schetelig is gratefully acknowledged from the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Program from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Grant No. 2011-39211-30769; AMH) and the Emmy Noether program SCHE 1833/1 of the German Research Foundation (MFS). The project described in the section by St. Leger is gratefully acknowledged from the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Program from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Grant No. 2011-33522-30742), and by the NSF BREAD program (Grant No 0965121).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Hokanson
    • 1
    Email author
  • W. O. Dawson
    • 2
  • A. M. Handler
    • 3
  • M. F. Schetelig
    • 4
  • R. J. St. Leger
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Horticultural SciencesUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology, Citrus Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaLake AlfredUSA
  3. 3.Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Agricultral Research ServiceUSDAGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Justus-Liebig-Universität GießenGiessenGermany
  5. 5.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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