The first time I read the term biolistic, I thought it was a misprint. Then I found out it was a chimera-like word, with a "biological" head and a "ballistic" body. The term describes a method for introducing DNA into cells by literally shooting them with microscopic bullets, which have been previously coated with the desired DNA. Although the technique is mainly used for the genetic engineering of plants, sometimes it is also employed for animal cells and tissues, fungi or bacteria. I have never used a gene gun, not even been close to one, so I greatly enjoyed the following video from JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, a video journal for biological research, see note*):
Georgia Woods, Karen Zito. Preparation of Gene Gun Bullets and Biolistic Transfection of Neurons in Slice Culture. Journal of Visualized Experiments (02/13/2008).
The 17-min video is a detailed description of the whole procedure, so it gives you the impression to be there. A written protocol completes the article.
The guys at JoVE are working hard to improve their site. Recently, I was informed by Anna Kushnir (JoVE blog) about new and future developments: they have now a convenient RSS feed, signed agreements with a few science publishing companies for joint protocol publication (see example) and they are awaiting for approval to become soon the first video journal to be reviewed by PubMed. Good luck, folks!
- Gene Guns, Davidson College.
- Gene Gun, Wikipedia.
- Development of the "Gene Gun" at Cornell, Cornell University.
- Biolistics, or “Maybe We Could Just Shoot It?”, 90% True.