Here, we describe a systematic search for synthetic gene interactions in a multicellular organism, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We established a high-throughput method to determine synthetic gene interactions by genome-wide RNA interference and identified genes that are required to protect the germ line against DNA double-strand breaks. Besides known DNA-repair proteins such as the C. elegans orthologs of TopBP1, RPA2, and RAD51, eight genes previously unassociated with a double-strand-break response were identified. Knockdown of these genes increased sensitivity to ionizing radiation and camptothecin and resulted in increased chromosomal nondisjunction. All genes have human orthologs that may play a role in human carcinogenesis.
Copyright 2004 The National Academy of Sciencs of the USA