Cells in suspension are pipetted into a reservoir with an array of cell-size wells each containing a single spike. Microfluidic channels running through the wells generate a suction force that draws cells into individual wells (1), where the spikes pierce the cell membranes (2). The flow is reversed to release the cells (3), which are then mixed with the DNA of interest (4). The DNA diffuses into the cells via the temporary pores, which then close up on their own.

© george retseck

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Ruth Williams is a freelance journalist based in Connecticut. Email her at ruth@wordsbyruth.com or find her on Twitter @rooph.

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