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Ancient Pathways Programmed by Small RNAs

Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1265-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072457

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Abstract

Double-stranded RNA can now be used in a wide variety of eukaryotes to suppress the expression of virtually any gene, allowing the rapid analysis of that gene's function, a technique known as RNA interference. But how cells use the information in double-stranded RNA to suppress gene expression and why they contain the machinery to do so remain the subjects of intense scrutiny. Current evidence suggests that RNA interference and other “RNA silencing” phenomena reflect an elaborate cellular apparatus that eliminates abundant but defective messenger RNAs and defends against molecular parasites such as transposons and viruses.

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