• piggyBac;
  • germline transformation;
  • EGFP;
  • enhancer trap;
  • Tribolium castaneum


The lepidopteran transposable element piggyBac can mediate germline insertions in at least four insect orders. It therefore shows promise as a broad-spectrum transformation vector, but applications such as enhancer trapping and transposon-tag mutagenesis are still lacking. We created, cloned, sequenced and genetically mapped a set of piggyBac insertions in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Transpositions were precise, and specifically targeted the canonical TTAA recognition sequence. We detected several novel reporter-expression domains, indicating that piggyBac could be used to identify enhancer regions. We also demonstrated that a primary insertion of a non-autonomous element can be efficiently remobilized to non-homologous chromosomes by injection of an immobile helper element into embryos harbouring the primary insertion. These developments suggest potential for more sophisticated methods of piggyBac-mediated genome manipulation.