Synthetic Gene Vectors

Without evolution working to carefully hone and optimize the delivery process, man-made delivery vectors suffer from lower efficiencies compared to nature's DNA viruses. However, nonviral vectors, including cationic liposomes and cationic polymers, are gaining popularity because they are easy to make and to mass-produce, there is no size limit on the DNA to be delivered, there are fewer immunological and safety implications, and they can be targeted by the attachment of cell-specific ligands [17-19,42]. However, basic knowledge of the relationship between vector structure and efficiency, and critical in vivo mechanisms involved in gene delivery with synthetic carriers is still scarce [43]. As discussed in this and subsequent sections, improved knowledge pertaining to the "bottlenecks" to efficient nonviral gene delivery is critical to the further improvement of the biological performance of these systems.

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