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The Cell Is My Test Tube

Micromanipulator Tables In the early 1970s, researchers showed that macromolecules retained activity when injected into living cells. Since then, studies involving the activity or fate of any number of natural and synthetic macromolecules as well as transplanted organelles have created an informative field. Injected material can be studied directly, or longer-term effects such as transformation can be monitored; with some materials it is even possible to reisolate and characterize the injected m

Bob Sinclair

Micromanipulator Tables

In the early 1970s, researchers showed that macromolecules retained activity when injected into living cells. Since then, studies involving the activity or fate of any number of natural and synthetic macromolecules as well as transplanted organelles have created an informative field. Injected material can be studied directly, or longer-term effects such as transformation can be monitored; with some materials it is even possible to reisolate and characterize the injected material after incubation in the cell.

Conceptually, manipulating single cells and injecting material into cells is very simple--secure the cell at the injection site, then use a very tiny needle to inject a small volume of material through the cell wall or membrane. In practice, though, it is a much harder proposition. Reproducibly handling minute volumes and eliminating all sources of vibration are two of the biggest concerns.

For those operating on a tight budget, vibration problems can be...

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