Macroprojectiles

Description (Brief)
These macroprojectiles are part of the firing mechanism for a biolistic gene gun prototype produced by John Sanford, Ed Wolf, and Nelson Allen at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Biolistic gene guns are used to genetically transform plants, by shooting microprojectiles (tiny bullets) covered in DNA into plant cells.
The firing mechanism of the gene gun required several steps. A gunpowder charge (see object 1991.0785.03.2) or compressed air was used to accelerate a macroprojectile, upon whose tip rested DNA-coated microprojectiles. The macroprojectile would be halted on impact with a stopping plate (see object 1991.0785.03.4). A hole in the stopping plate was small enough to allow the microprojectiles to pass through, but large enough to halt the macroprojectile (see object 1991.0785.03.5). The microparticles would then continue to move forward, eventually penetrating the cells to be transformed. The process is diagrammed in the Biolistic Gene Transfer Process shadow box (see object 1992.0023.01).
To learn more about biolistic gene guns, please see gene gun
prototype II (object number 1991.0785.02) or gene gun prototype III (object number 1991.0785.01.1).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
macroprojectiles
Physical Description
high density polyethylene (hdpe) (overall material)
Measurements
average spatial: 1.3 cm x 8.9 cm; 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in
macroprojectiles: 5/16 in x 3/16 in; .79375 cm x .47625 cm
ID Number
1991.0785.03.3
catalog number
1991.0785.03.3
accession number
1991.0785
subject
Biolistic Gene Guns
Biotechnology and Genetics
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Biological Sciences
Biotechnology and Genetics
Biolistic Gene Guns
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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