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The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, and the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), are well known for their destruction of human dwellings and flora in the tropics and subtropics. A method to deliver foreign genes into termite cell cultures would provide a controlled environment to facilitate the study of key regulatory functions at the molecular and cellular level. Here a method for the establishment and cryopreservation of primary embryonic termite cell cultures is described. Evidence is presented of viral-mediated gene transfer in these cells and foreign gene expression using a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vector.