News of the WeekGENE SILENCING

A Faster Way to Shut Down Genes

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Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1469-1471
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5521.1469

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In the 24 May issue of Nature, scientists report that by using specially constructed double-stranded RNA molecules, they have shut down target genes in several different cultured mammalian cells lines, a feat that had previously been achieved only in lower organisms. The technique won't replace gene knockout strategies, but so-called RNA interference (RNAi) does offer some advantages. It is faster and less labor intensive than making a knockout, and genes that are lethal when knocked out in embryos can be analyzed with RNAi in cell culture.