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March 23, 2006

RNA interference: a possible strategy against BSE

I received an e-mail from Peter Sherwood, Director of Research Communications at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, about the possible use of RNA interference (RNAi) to protect cattle from BSE (see related story below), and other maladies including influenza, and foot-and-mouth disease.

From a news summary published online by Newswise:

RNA interference uses tiny microRNAs to shut down targeted genes by interfering with the messenger RNA they produce. While researchers have long used RNAi as a method for manipulating gene activity for research purposes, they have discovered recently that cells use RNAi as an important mechanism for regulating their own genetic activity. Due to recent advances in RNAi techniques from Hannon’s lab [ a senior researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute], the study’s authors suspected it might also be possible to apply the approach to agricultural challenges.


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