Plant transformation using the gene gun, Robert Horsch
Interviewee: Robert Horsch. Robert Horsch talks about the gene gun: a physical method of delivering genes into plant cells. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Techniques > Transferring & storing > Interviews > Gene gun)
The major alternative to the use of agrobacterium to get genes into living plant cells is a physical method called the gene gun, which literally shoots gold or tungsten particles into living plant cells, carrying DNA on their surface. The first embodiment of this by the fellow at Cornell, John Sanford, who invented it, actually used a .22 caliber blank to accelerate a plastic bullet with a drop of tungsten and DNA on the tip towards plant cells. The plastic bullet would hit a doughnut-shaped plate with a hole in the middle and the tungsten would spray out the other end but the plastic bullet would stop, and the plant cells in the bottom would be bombarded at gunshot velocities. It turned out it worked. Once the tungsten particle goes into the cell, the DNA would simply fall off of it and once in a while find its way into the nucleus and by just random DNA integration find its way into the genome.
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- ID: 15265
- Source: DNALC.DNAi
Robert Horsch explains the mechanism by which agrobacterium delivers its DNA "parcel."
Robert Horsch talks about the parasitic nature of agrobacterium and the effect it has on the host plant.
Robert Horsch compares the random power of a gene gun with the natural genetic engineering abilities of agrobacterium.
Robert Horsch talks about agrobacterium as a ready-made delivery system for getting foreign DNA into plants.
Image of Dr. Robert Horsch
Stanley Cohen speaks about his and Herbert Boyer's experiment to make the first plasmid that had been engineered to contain foreign DNA.
Renowned biologist and philosopher Robert Pollack reflects on his concern over the potential danger of Janet Mertz's experiment inserting a cancer-causing gene from a monkey virus into a bacterium that lives in humans.
Mario Capecchi discusses homologous recombination, the technique he developed to introduce a desired mutation into the DNA of living cells.
Recombinant DNA technology has made it possible to test gene function in bacteria or cell cultures rather than animal models.
Little chance that genetic modifications to chloroplasts are transferred by pollen to wild plants.