RNA interference (RNAi) has become the method of choice to suppress gene expression in vitro. It is also emerging as a powerful tool for in vivo research with over 90 studies published using synthetic small interfering RNAs in mammals. These reports demonstrate the potential for use of synthetic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) as therapeutic agents, especially in the areas of cancer and viral infection. The number of reports using siRNAs for functional genomics applications, for validation of targets for small-molecule drug development programs, and to address questions of basic biology will rapidly grow as methods and protocols for use in animals become more established. This review will first discuss aspects of RNAi biochemistry and biology that impact in vivo use, especially as relates to experimental design, and will then provide an overview of published work with a focus on methodology.