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Gene electrotransfer

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A non-chemical method that enables the transfer or the transfection of genetic material into the recipient cells


Gene electrotransfer is a method used to transfer genetic material to the recipient cells (i.e. prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells). The term electrotransfer is a combination of electro- (Latin electrum) and transfer since the method involves exposing the cells to short and intense pulses of electric field in order to increase the permeability of the recipient cell membrane temporarily. Molecules, such as plasmid DNA, antisense oligonucleotides, siRNA, etc., can be transported into cells. When inside the cell, the DNA migrates towards the nucleus. It will next be transferred across the nuclear envelope to be expressed. This method is currently the most convenient way to make large amounts of a specific protein, especially one that is used for biotechnology or for medicine. Its first use in medicine was for increasing the permeability of anticancer drugs into the tumor nodules.1

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1 Mir LM, Belehradek M, Domenge C, Orlowski S, Poddevin B, Belehradek J Jr, Schwaab G, Luboinski B, Paoletti C (1991). Electrochemotherapy, a new antitumor treatment: first clinical trial, CR Acad Sci III 313:613-618