Now a multidisciplinary team of Brigham Young University scientists has developed a way to significantly reduce cell death when introducing DNA into egg cells. The researchers have created a microscopic lance that delivers DNA to the cells through electrical forces.
“Because DNA is naturally negatively charged, it is attracted to the outside of the lance using positive voltage,” said Brian Jensen, BYU professor of mechanical engineering. “Once we insert the lance into a cell, we simply reverse the polarity of the electrical force and the lance releases the DNA.”
Because the lance is 10 times smaller and no extra fluid is used, the cells undergo significantly less stress compared to microinjection, and thus, have a higher survival rate. The researchers describe their “metamorphic nanoinjection” process in an article published today by Review of Scientific Instruments.