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Science. 2002 May 17;296(5571):1263-5.

RNA silencing: the genome's immune system.

Author information

  • Hubrecht Laboratory, Centre for Biomedical Genetics, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, Netherlands. Plasterk@niob.knaw.nl


Genomes are databases sensitive to invasion by viruses. In recent years, a defense mechanism has been discovered, which turns out to be conserved among eukaryotes. The system can be compared to the immune system in several ways: It has specificity against foreign elements and the ability to amplify and raise a massive response against an invading nucleic acid. The latter property is beginning to be understood at the molecular level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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