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CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2005) 7: 1-6.

RNA Interference: Past, Present and Future

Tessa N. Campbell and Francis Y.M. Choy

RNA interference (RNAi) is the sequence-specific gene silencing induced by double-stranded RNA. RNAi is mediated by 21-23 nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) which are produced from long double-stranded RNAs by RNAse II-like enzyme Dicer. The resulting siRNAs are incorporated into a RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) that targets and cleaves mRNA complementary to the siRNAs. Since its inception in 1998, RNAi has been demonstrated in organisms ranging from trypanosomes to nematodes to vertebrates. Potential uses already in progress include the examination of specific gene function in living systems, the development of anti-viral and anti-cancer therapies, and genome-wide screens. In this review, we discuss the landmark discoveries that established the contextual framework leading up to our current understanding of RNAi. We also provide an overview of current developments and future applications.

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