Biolistics is the transfer of exogenous DNA into living cells using high velocity bombardment technique. It is a new and novel method of gene transfer to overcome the limitations of DNA delivery systems generally used. It avoids the need of protoplasts and the method can be used in any plant cell, leaves, root sections, seeds, pollens etc. The method involves bombardment of particles carrying nucleic acids, DNA or RNA on to the target cells using high velocity transfer mechanism.
Sanford in 1987 developed the method of Biolistics or Microprojectiles using onion epidermal cells. Klein in 1987 transferred genomic RNA of Tobacco Mosaic Virus into the epidermal cells of onion. About 40% of the onion cells showed viral replication. The method of Biolistics can be used in direct transformation of whole cells in culture, and cell components like chloroplast and mitochondria
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The Biolistics involves coating of DNA or RNA on heavy microparticles of tungsten or gold. DNA used in coating is first precipitated with calcium chloride, spermidine and polyethylene glycol. This produces 1 to 4 micron sized Microprojectiles. These are then carried by a Nylon microprojectile and are accelerated into living target cells at very high velocity of 1400 ft per second. The micropiles are with held in the barrel by stopping plate while the DNA coated microprojectile enters into the stopping plate and continues to accelerate towards the target living cell. As a result of the bombardment, the DNA enters into the cell through the cell wall.
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