Gene Silencing : Rna Interference

1560 Words7 Pages
Gene Silencing Through RNA Interference Gene silencing, the ability to selectively suppress the expression of a single gene, is something that was once thought of as a “holy grail” in medical technology. The potential treatments for this technology include, but are not limited to, inhibiting viral infections, cancer replication, and certain genetic disorders. Considering the potency of each of these problems within the modern medical field, the potential economic and physiological impact of gene silencing is massive (amounting to billions of dollars in investment). With the recent discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) (Fire and Mello) and the field’s development within the last 20 years, the impossible is starting to become possible. The underlying problem that RNAi addresses is the expression of malignant proteins within the cell. Most current drugs are designed to affect the proteins after expression, where continued administration of the drug is generally required to inhibit the effect of the constantly produced protein. RNAi addresses the problem prior to expression of the protein. RNAi occurs through a multi-level mechanism that ultimately results in the complete inhibition of protein translation within the cytoplasm. With this medical tool, one can stop the problem before any physiological symptom occurs. The mechanism for RNAi follows one of two major pathways: one originating with foreign injected double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and the other originating with micro-RNA
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