Gene silencing is about controlling the flow of genetic information. Our genome operates by sending instructions for the manufacture of proteins from DNA in the nucleus of the cell to the protein synthesizing machinery. These instructions are conveyed by messenger RNA (mRNA). In 1998 it was discovered that a certain mechanism can degrade mRNA from a specific gene. This mechanism is RNA interference. It is activated when RNA molecules occur as double-stranded pairs in the cell. Double-stranded RNA activates biochemical machinery which degrades those mRNA molecules that carry a genetic code identical to that of the double-stranded RNA. When such mRNA molecules disappear, the corresponding gene is silenced.
RNA interference is of great importance for the regulation of gene expression and can be used against viral infections. RNA interference is already being widely used in basic science as a method to study the function of genes and Benitec believes it will lead to novel therapies.
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|SOURCE Benitec Limited; CalbaTech, Inc.|
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