The histories of plant and insect genetic technologies begin at about the same time but from different starting points. In plants a pathogenic bacteria was the basis for constructing the first robust transformation platform while in insects it was a transposon. The transgenic platform for plants proved to be useful across many species of plants and its history is recounted in a recent issue of The International Journal of Developmental Biology. Plant scientists working on many different species have had excellent access to genetic technologies which they have put to use in the pursuit of basic research questions and applied and biotechnological interests. With the notable exception of those studying Drosophila melanogaster this has not been the experiences of insect biologist and insect genetic technologies. This dedicated issue of The International Journal of Developmental Biology to plant transgenesis provides a nice snapshot of an area of biology and how it has broadly benefited from widely available genetic technologies.