A technique by which selected DNA molecules are quantitatively coated upon gold or tungsten spheres 1–3 micrometers in diameter and shot into plant or animal tissues with sufficient force to penetrate multiple layers of cells. The motive force to accelerate the particles comes from a high-pressure burst of helium gas stored in a tank connected to the gene gun. The targeted animal tissues are generally somatic (skin, liver, and pancreas), and a large number of reporter genes and genes with therapeutic potentials have been expressed in targeted cells. Gene guns have been used even more effectively in generating transgenic plants of economic importance.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.