Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Jerreme Jackson, Honors Thesis Advisor


Baculoviruses; Caterpillars--Viruses;


Iowa farmlands occupy approximately 85% of its 35.7 million acres, and Iowa leads the United States in corn and soybean production, with an estimated 2.58 billion and 502 million bushels of corn and soybean produced in 2019, respectively. This successful trend in annual yields has span forty plus years and been consequential to the simultaneous implementation of agricultural- and science-based practices. Genetically modified corn and soybean crop varieties express genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) which encode insecticidal proteins that protect, with high specificity, against insect pests. While researchers continue to study the molecular mechanism(s) of Bt extensively, alternative environmentally safe strategies, such as the use of insect viruses (baculoviruses), remain poorly understood. Advancements in molecular biology techniques (e.g.,CRISPR-based gene editing) have increased our understanding of gene organization, protein functionality, and how they determine organism behavior, substantiating the need for an up-to-date and detailed description of insect host-baculovirus interactions. In this review, we will focus on mechanisms of host-baculovirus infection, vertical transmission, and baculovirus modulation of host physiology and behavior in Lepidoptera (caterpillars).

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (15 pages)



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