Genetic Requirements for Inheritance of RNAi in C. elegans

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Science  31 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5462, pp. 2494-2497
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5462.2494

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In Caenorhabditis elegans, the introduction of double-stranded RNA triggers sequence-specific genetic interference (RNAi) that is transmitted to offspring. The inheritance properties associated with this phenomenon were examined. Transmission of the interference effect occurred through a dominant extragenic agent. The wild-type activities of the RNAi pathway genes rde-1 andrde-4 were required for the formation of this interfering agent but were not needed for interference thereafter. In contrast, therde-2 and mut-7 genes were required downstream for interference. These findings provide evidence for germ line transmission of an extragenic sequence-specific silencing factor and implicate rde-1 and rde-4 in the formation of the inherited agent.

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