In gene therapy, why can't a gene be inserted directly into the cell? ?
It was mentioned on this website: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/procedures and many others but there's no explanation for it.
- 1 month ago
A gene can't easily be inserted directly into your cells. Rather, it usually has to be delivered using a carrier, called a vector. The most common gene therapy vectors are viruses because they can recognize certain cells and carry genetic material into the cells' genes
- AmyLv 71 month ago
It is. It's inserted by the ultimate expert on inserting foreign DNA into human cells: a virus.
If you're asking why doctors can't use teeny tiny needles to inject every cell of a living human's pancreas (for example), it's because cells are very small and very numerous and not very accessible.
Some viruses, like HIV, copy their genes into the human chromosome. But that's not necessary to get the cell to express the gene, and it's a lot riskier than keeping the experimental gene separate. You don't know exactly how many viruses are going to infect each cell or where in the chromosome they'd insert their DNA - possibly right in the middle of another important gene.
- Anonymous1 month ago
Genes are packed onto DNA and each DNA molecule is folded many times to make them fit inside a cell in the form of molecules. To insert a gene into a DNA molecule, one must unpack the DNA, cut it and splice the gene into it, without damaging genes that are already there. It is very difficult to do. Some viruses can do it. Since there is a good chance of damaging other genes inside the cell, doctors do not want to take a risk unless absolutely necessary.
- ZirpLv 71 month ago
What would be the point in doing it to just one cell (not a zygote) ?
How would one gene be read if it isn't part of chromosome? Can you insert a word or chapter into a book?
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- MorningfoxLv 71 month ago
Basically, a gene has to be inserted into the DNA of a cell, in order to do its job. But the DNA is kept in the nucleus. Also in the nucleus are the proteins and enzymes that unwind the DNA strands to activate the genes. A "naked" strand of DNA in the outer parts of the cell (outside the nucleus) would not be active, would probably be digested.