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RNA Interference

RNAi in Action

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules are pieces of RNA that block the activity of genes through a natural process called RNA interference (RNAi). This process has emerged as a powerful tool used in thousands of labs worldwide to understand gene function. Because each siRNA molecule can block a different gene, RNAi can tell scientists about the role of any gene in maintaining health or causing disease. Read the latest news about these genes below.

December 2013

Gene-Silencing Data Now Publicly Available to Help Scientists Better Understand Disease
On Dec. 11, 2013, NIH announced that for the first time, large-scale information on the biochemical makeup of small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules is available publicly. NCATS researchers collaborated with Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad, California, which owns the siRNA information, to make it available to all researchers.

November 2013

Gene-Silencing Study Finds New Targets for Parkinson’s Disease
On Nov. 25, 2013, NIH announced that NCATS and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke researchers used RNAi technology to identify dozens of genes that may represent new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease. The research was published online in Nature.

March 2013

Functional Genomic Screening Identifies Dual Leucine Zipper Kinase as a Key Mediator of Retinal Ganglion Cell Death
On March 5, 2013, NCATS scientists published results of an RNAi screening study identifying a protein that could represent a therapeutic target for glaucoma.

February 2013

Human Genome-Wide RNAi Screen Reveals a Role for Nuclear Pore Proteins in Poxvirus Morphogenesis
An article published on Feb. 26, 2013, revealed that a human genome-wide RNAi screen had identified candidate genes that modulate the activity of vaccinia virus, representing possible therapeutic targets.