Mammalian RNAi for the masses

Trends Genet. 2003 Jan;19(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(02)00005-7.


Just a couple of years ago, only biologists working with plants or Caenorhabditis elegans could use RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) technology to gain insight into gene function. However, the recent groundbreaking discovery that in vitro synthesized, 21- to 23-nucleotide, double-stranded RNAs can act as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to elicit gene-specific inhibition in mammalian cells has made RNAi possible in mammalian systems too. Reported only a year ago, mammalian RNAi is already changing our way of studying gene function in higher eukaryotes. And, a recent exciting advance allows delivery of siRNAs into mammalian cells by a DNA vector. In addition to providing a low-cost alternative to the chemically synthesized siRNAs, this DNA-vector-based strategy is capable of mediating stable target gene inhibition, thus allowing gene function analysis over an extended period of time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Plasmids
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA Polymerase III / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA Polymerase III