Certain disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, rickettsia, and certain protozoans are obligate pathogens. Cell cultures can be extremely useful with such pathogens because this is often the only way to grow them outside a whole animal or plant and make them much easier to study. Some of the early work with insect cell culture was initiated with a group of viruses known as nucleopolyhedrovirus. These viruses cause diseases in a large number of pest insects and thus are potential biological control agents. Cell cultures grown in large volumes can be used to produce these viruses for biologically based pesticides.
Some insects are also notorious for their ability to transmit diseases (such as malaria and yellow fever) to higher animals and plants. Cell cultures from mosquitoes and other insects can also be used to study these pathogens.
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