RNAi--prospects for a general technique for determining gene function

Parasitol Today. 2000 Aug;16(8):347-9. doi: 10.1016/s0169-4758(00)01677-x.


Gene discovery programs centred around expressed sequence tag (EST) and genome sequencing projects have predictably led to an exponential surge in the number of parasite gene sequences deposited in public databases. To take advantage of this wealth of sequence information, it is essential to develop rapid methods for elucidating the biological function or mode of action of individual genes. Here, Patricia Kuwabara and Alan Coulson discuss the virtues of a powerful epigenetic gene disruption technique, RNA-mediated interference (RNAi), which was originally developed for the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. It is anticipated that this technique will not only provide insights into gene function, but also help investigators to mine the genome for candidate drug intervention or vaccine development targets, some of which may not be readily apparent on the basis of sequence information alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / genetics*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / metabolism*
  • RNA, Helminth / genetics
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism


  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • RNA, Helminth