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Science. 1997 Jun 6;276(5318):1558-60.

A similarity between viral defense and gene silencing in plants.

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  • 1Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Gene silencing in plants, in which an endogenous gene is suppressed by introduction of a related transgene, has been used for crop improvement. Observations that viruses are potentially both initiators and targets of gene silencing suggested that this phenomenon may be related to natural defense against viruses. Supporting this idea, it was found that nepovirus infection of nontransgenic plants induces a resistance mechanism that is similar to transgene-induced gene silencing.

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