planned process of introducing nucleic acids into living cells

Transfection is the process of deliberately introducing DNA or RNA into cells. The word is formed from transformation and infection. The term is used for:[1]

  1. Transformation of bacterial cells with viral nucleic acids
  2. Transformation of animals cells in tissue culture with purified DNA. The DNA is added to the cells' genome.
  3. Transformation of cells or embryos with single or double-stranded RNA. This causes the building of particular proteins, or the silencing of particular genes.
  4. Gene therapy using a modified virus as a vector.

Transfection can result in unexpected morphologies and abnormalities in target cells. Transfection with RNA molecules produces changes which cannot be permanently transmitted down a line of cells.[1]

DNA constructs change

A DNA construct is an artificially constructed bit of nucleic acid which is going to be 'transplanted' into a target tissue or cell. It may include a DNA insert, which contains the gene sequence coding for a protein of interest.

The DNA insert is the heart of the molecular biology vector. This is a general term for a vehicle used to transfer foreign genetic material into another cell. Transfection of animal cells usually involves opening temporary pores (holes) in the cell membrane, to allow the cells to take up the vector.

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 King R.C; Stansfield W.D. & Mulligan P.K. 2006. A dictionary of genetics. 7th ed, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530761-5