Image of the Day: DNA nanoinjector

The conventional way of convincing one animal to take on genes from a different animal is to start at the very beginning by injecting DNA sequences directly into the nucleus of an egg. And the conventional way of injecting DNA sequences into the nucleus of an egg is using a hollow needle to pump DNA-filled liquid inside of it. (But eggs aren't really designed for this, and about 40 percent of the time, they explode.) Needless to say, after exploding, they're not really capable of contributing to science.

Researchers from Brigham Young University have a better way, and it's the system in the picture above: a nanoscopic framework that can hold one single egg, while an even more nanoscopic injector needle stabs it. The needle can be electrically charged, which causes DNA to stick to it. After it impales the egg, the charge is reversed, and the DNA is released inside. This boosts the non-explosion rate of the eggs by over 20 percent, and also allows for a wider variety of eggs to be manipulated, meaning that we're significantly more likely to see the creation of crab people within our lifetimes.

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