Animal cells have recently been shown to express a range of approximately 22 nucleotide noncoding RNAs termed micro RNAs (miRNAs). Here, we show that the human mir-30 miRNA can be excised from irrelevant, endogenously transcribed mRNAs encompassing the predicted 71 nucleotide mir-30 precursor. Expression of the mir-30 miRNA specifically blocked the translation in human cells of an mRNA containing artificial mir-30 target sites. Similarly, designed miRNAs were also excised from transcripts encompassing artificial miRNA precursors and could inhibit the expression of mRNAs containing a complementary target site. These data indicate that novel miRNAs can be readily produced in vivo and can be designed to specifically inactivate the expression of selected target genes in human cells.