A team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, have used silicon nanowires to transfer genetic material into cells (Kim W et al. J Am Chem Soc. 2007;129:7228-7229).
The researchers cultured cells on an array of nanowires, each about 3 to 6 μm long and less than 100 nm in diameter. As the cells grew and divided, the nanowires penetrated individual cells without any external forces applied. The cells survived for up to several days; longevity was highly dependent on nanowire diameter.
Hampton T. Nanowire DNA Delivery. JAMA. 2007;298(5):505. doi:10.1001/jama.298.5.505-b