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Differentiation. 2004 Mar;72(2-3):81-91.

High-throughput RNAi in Caenorhabditis elegans: genome-wide screens and functional genomics.

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Laboratory for Developmental Genomics, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3, Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 650-0047, Japan.


The phenomenon of RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) was first discovered in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, in which introduction of double-stranded RNA causes specific inactivation of genes with corresponding sequences. Technical advances in RNAi methodology and the availability of the complete genome sequence have enabled the high-throughput, genome-wide RNAi analysis of this organism. Several groups have used large-scale RNAi to systematically examine every C. elegans gene for knock-down phenotypes, providing basal information to be mined in more detailed studies. Now, in addition to functional genomic RNAi analyses, high-throughput RNAi is also routinely used for rapid, genome-wide screens for genes involved in specific biological processes. The integration of high-throughput RNAi experiments with other large-scale data, such as DNA microarrays and protein-protein interaction maps, enhances the speed and reliability of such screens. The accumulation of RNAi phenotype data dramatically accelerates our understanding of this organism at the genetic level.

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