DNA inserted into live cells using high tech lasers and optical tweezers

08/07/2013 - 00:00

The applications of gene therapy and genetic engineering are broad: everything from pet fish that glow red to increased crop yields worldwide to cures for many of the diseases that plague humankind. But realizing them always starts with solving the same basic scientific question-how to "transfect" a cell by inserting foreign DNA into it. Many methods already exist for doing this, but they tend to be clumsy and destructive, not allowing researchers to precisely control how and when they insert the DNA or requiring them to burn through large numbers of cells before they can get it into one.