The transfer of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) into living cells, that is, transfection, is a major technique in current biochemistry and molecular biology. This process permits the selective introduction of genetic material for protein synthesis as well as the selective inhibition of protein synthesis (antisense or gene silencing). As nucleic acids alone are not able to penetrate the cell wall, efficient carriers are needed. Besides viral, polymeric, and liposomal agents, inorganic nanoparticles are especially suitable for this purpose because they can be prepared and surface-functionalized in many different ways. Herein, the current state of the art is discussed from a chemical viewpoint. Advantages and disadvantages of the available methods are compared.