RNA Interference: A powerful laboratory tool and its therepeutic implications

Hippokratia 2006, 10(3):112-115

K Felekkis, C Deltas
Dpt of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, Cyprus


Ever since RNA interference (RNAi) was discovered in the ear1y 1990s, a number of scientists from the academic and biotechnology world have continued to view it as the revolutionary discovery of the century. Unequivocally, RNAi can be considered as an important regulator of gene expression in many eukaryotic cells. The term RNAi describes a natural process by which a double-stranded RNA molecule, when introduced into the cell is processed into short RNA duplexes and drives gene silencing by specific and distinct mechanisms. Many of the players involved in this cellular defense network have been elucidated but a more complete understanding of the process is essential. Worldwide interest on RNAi in the last decade is mainly attributed to its power as a laboratory tool for the experimental manipulation of gene expression. RNAi assisted already in the dissection of numerous cellular pathways and revealed the role of many proteins in an approach aimed to drug discovery. This new technology has the potential to improve our understanding of physiologic and pathologic processes and lead to the discovery of new drugs. More importantly, there is growing interest among the scientific community for the potential therapeutic applications of RNAi.

Keywords: RNA interference, gene silencing, siRNA, miRNA

Correspoding author: Felekkis K, e-mail: kfelekis@cing.ac.cy