The key difference between electroporation and microinjection is that electroporation is a technique that uses a high voltage electric pulse to deliver DNA into host cells while microinjection is a technique that uses a fine-tipped glass needle or micropipette to deliver DNA into host cells.
Transformation is the process by which foreign DNA is transferred to host cells. By transformation, the genetic makeup of the organism can be altered. There are different chemical, biological and physical transformation methods. Some are direct methods, while some are indirect methods. Electroporation and microinjection are two physical methods which are direct transformation methods. Electroporation uses an electric field to induce microscopic pores in biological cell membranes in order to incorporate DNA into host cells. Microinjection, on the other hand, directly delivers DNA using a micropipette or fine-tipped glass needle.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Electroporation
3. What is Microinjection
4. Similarities Between Electroporation and Microinjection
5. Side by Side Comparison – Electroporation vs Microinjection in Tabular Form
What is Electroporation?
Electroporation is a transformation technique which delivers DNA into plant cells and protoplasts. This technique utilizes a high voltage electric pulse. Plant materials are incubated in a buffer solution having DNA. Then the solution is subjected to a high voltage electric pulse. High voltage induced pores are created in plant cell membranes, and through these pores, DNA migrates inside the cells and integrates with plant genomic DNA. The efficiency of this method depends on plant materials and treatment conditions.
When the transformation is done using electroporation, only 40 to 50 % of cells receive DNA. Moreover, only 50 % of the transformed cells can survive under this method. However, this method is easy to perform and does not alter the biological structure or function of cells. Moreover, it can be used for a wide range of cells.
What is Microinjection?
Microinjection is a transformation technique which is particularly useful when introducing DNA into large cells. This method utilizes a fine-tipped glass needle or a micropipette to deliver DNA into plant protoplasts or animal cells (oocytes, eggs and embryos). In fact, this method is more suitable for making transgenic animals such as mice. In this method, DNA is incorporated directly into the nucleus or cytoplasm.
Similar to electroporation, microinjection is a direct transformation technique. Microinjection is performed under a specialized microscope setup. Computerized control of holding pipette, needle, microscope stage and video technology has increased the efficacy of this technique. When injecting DNA, a dye can be used to easily identify transformed cells. Therefore, there is no need to use a separate method to identify transformed cells. Most importantly, the microinjection procedure does not require a marker gene.
Moreover, this method is very effective and reproducible. However, this method is costly, time-consuming and required skilled personal. Also, only a small number of cells can be treated with this method.
What are the Similarities Between Electroporation and Microinjection?
- Both electroporation and microinjection are two types of transformation techniques.
- These methods deliver DNA into plant cells and protoplasts.
- They are direct methods.
- Moreover, they are physical or mechanical methods.
- Both methods are helpful when producing transgenic plants and animals.
What is the Difference Between Electroporation and Microinjection?
Electroporation technique uses an electric field to introduce DNA while microinjection technique is a micropipette or a fine-tipped glass needle to introduce DNA. Thus, this is the key difference between electroporation and microinjection. Moreover, electroporation is mostly used for plant cells and protoplasts while microinjection is mostly used for animal cells. Besides, electroporation is not as time-consuming as microinjection.
The below infographic summarizes the differences between electroporation and microinjection in tabular form.
Summary – Electroporation vs Microinjection
Electroporation and microinjection are two physical methods of gene transfer. Electroporation utilizes a high voltage electric field while microinjection utilizes a glass needle or micropipette. Thus, this is the key difference between electroporation and microinjection. However, both methods directly introduce exogenous DNA into host cells.