Courtesy of Qbiogene
 GOT LACTOSE? 3T3 cells expressing b-galactosidase (which converts lactose into glucose and galactose) after transfection with Qbiogene's jetPEI reagent.

Laboratories are loading mammalian cells and tissues with exogenous DNA more routinely and more successfully than ever before. The means available to deliver the DNA--lipofection, transduction, electroporation, and so on--seem to be increasing at a staggering rate, whether measured in terms of published protocols, commercially available kits and reagents, or supporting cell lines. This plethora of options may seem like a boon to researchers, but to someone approaching the field for the first time, the choices can seem daunting. Where to begin?

Most protocols generally use transfection at some stage, points out Garry Nolan, an associate professor at Stanford University, because even with viral transductions, the gene still needs to get into the packaging cell. Approximately 7,500 different labs use Nolan's virus-packaging cell lines. He cautions that...

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