, Volume 83, Issue 10, pp 764-773

Silence of the transcripts: RNA interference in medicine

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Abstract

Silencing of gene expression by ribonucleic acid (RNA), known as RNA interference (RNAi), is now recognized as a major means of gene regulation in biology. In this mechanism, small noncoding double-stranded RNA molecules knock down gene expression through a variety of mechanisms that include messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation, inhibition of mRNA translation, or chromatin remodeling. The posttranscriptional mechanism of RNAi has been embraced by researchers as a powerful tool for generating deficient phenotypes without mutating the gene. In parallel, exciting recent results have promised its application in disease therapy. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge in this area and provide a roadmap that may eventually launch RNAi from the research bench to the medicine chest.