Field release and environmental fate of a transgenic entomopathogenic nematode

Randy Gaugler, Michael Wilson, Peter Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A strain of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, genetically enhanced for thermotolerance by introduction of a heat-shock protein gene from the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, was released in turfgrass field microplots in the spring, summer, and fall of 1996. As predicted, transgenic and wildtype strains did not differ in their ability to persist. We document the regulatory procedures at the federal, state, university, and local levels needed before field release, none of which posed any significant difficulties. Our risk assessment study supports the regulatory view that the transgenic nematode strain is an unlikely environmental threat. Subsequent regulatory reviews in the United States appear likely to continue to be decided on a case-by-case basis according to organism phenotype rather than the techniques used to generate them. This is the first report of a nonmicrobial, genetically engineered in sect natural enemy being released into the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Control
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


  • Genetic engineering
  • Heat-shock protein
  • Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
  • Nematode
  • Nematode persistence
  • Regulations
  • Risk assessment
  • Transgenic


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