Gene delivery is the process of introducing foreign DNA into host cells. Gene delivery is, for example, one of the steps necessary for gene therapy and the genetic modification of crops. There are many different methods of gene delivery developed for a various types of cells and tissues, from bacterial to mammalian. Generally, the methods can be divided into two categories, non-viral and viral.
Non-viral methods include physical methods such as electroporation, microinjection, gene gun, impalefection, hydrostatic pressure, continuous infusion, and sonication and chemical, such as lipofection. It can also include the use of polymeric gene carriers (polyplexes).
Virus mediated gene delivery utilizes the ability of a virus to inject its DNA inside a host cell. A gene that is intended for delivery is packaged into a replication-deficient viral particle. Viruses used to date include retrovirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus and herpes simplex virus. However, there are drawbacks to using viruses to deliver genes into cells. Viruses can only deliver very small pieces of DNA into the cells, it is labor-intensive and there are risks of random insertion sites, cytophathic effects and mutagenesis.
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