RNA interference: genetic wand and genetic watchdog

Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Feb;2(2):E31-6. doi: 10.1038/35000102.


In many species, introduction of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) induces potent and specific gene silencing, a phenomenon called RNA interference or RNAi. The apparently widespread nature of RNAi in eukaryotes, ranging from trypanosome to mouse, has sparked great interest from both applied and fundamental standpoints. Here we review the technical improvements being made to increase the experimental potential of this technique. We also discuss recent advances in uncovering the proteins that act during the RNAi process, discoveries that have revealed enticing links between transposition, transgene silencing and RNAi.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Models, Genetic
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Double-Stranded*
  • Transgenes*


  • RNA, Double-Stranded