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Trends Genet. 2003 Jan;19(1):9-12.

Mammalian RNAi for the masses.

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Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Just a couple of years ago, only biologists working with plants or Caenorhabditis elegans could use RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) technology to gain insight into gene function. However, the recent groundbreaking discovery that in vitro synthesized, 21- to 23-nucleotide, double-stranded RNAs can act as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to elicit gene-specific inhibition in mammalian cells has made RNAi possible in mammalian systems too. Reported only a year ago, mammalian RNAi is already changing our way of studying gene function in higher eukaryotes. And, a recent exciting advance allows delivery of siRNAs into mammalian cells by a DNA vector. In addition to providing a low-cost alternative to the chemically synthesized siRNAs, this DNA-vector-based strategy is capable of mediating stable target gene inhibition, thus allowing gene function analysis over an extended period of time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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