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Sigma-Aldrich Introduces MISSION(R) esiRNA for Low Cost, High Specificity Pooled RNAi Screening

ST. LOUIS, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sigma-Aldrich (Nasdaq: SIAL) today announced the global release of MISSION(R) esiRNA, a pool of gene-specific siRNA that provides a novel and powerful approach to RNAi screening in mammalian cells. Unlike traditional synthetic RNAi, esiRNA ( incorporates a pool of hundreds of siRNAs against a single gene target. This new tool is designed to eliminate the trial and error approach of identifying a single siRNA for gene knockdown and ensures minimal off-target effects.

"MISSION esiRNA provides a powerful way to elucidate gene function in cell culture assays," said Dr. Supriya Shivakumar, global marketing manager for Functional Genomics at Sigma-Aldrich. "The pooled format, unlike anything else on the market, should enable researchers to knock down genes rapidly and cost-effectively. This is an exciting addition to our current MISSION lineup and provides an effective technology that will facilitate RNAi research for a broad base of scientists."

The technique offers a number of benefits over the traditional approach to single-siRNA gene knockdown. By targeting each gene target with a "super-pool" of siRNA, the trial and error approach of identifying a useful single siRNA is eliminated. In addition, the approach should ensure minimal risk of off-target effects and enables the use of one assay per gene. Development of the esiRNA approach was supported by the German BMBF program "GO-Bio" and developed by the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany.

Frank Buchholz, a research group leader at the MPI-CBG, has pioneered the use of the esiRNA technology in RNAi screens. "We are delighted to be partnering with Sigma-Aldrich to make esiRNA technology available to the research community," he said. "esiRNAs were invented in Mike Bishop's laboratory at UCSF almost 10 years ago. esiRNA has been a major research focus of my group ever since. Sigma-Aldrich's extensive experience and product range in RNAi are a perfect complement to our effort to produce efficient and specific esiRNAs."

Harvard Medical School, which has invested in a human genome-wide esiRNA library, is using esiRNA to help identify the human genes that enable HIV propagation. "The phenotypic results from the initial tests of MISSION esiRNA using our assay for finding HIV dependency factors demonstrated very effective knockdown over a wide range of genes," said Dr. Abraham Brass, a clinical research fellow at Harvard Medical School.

Harvard Medical School will soon incorporate the technology into a wider range of tests. Dr. Caroline Shamu, director of the ICCB-Longwood Screening Facility, which provides high-throughput screens of RNAi libraries for Harvard Medical School researchers, said, "We are looking forward to screening the MISSION esiRNA library at ICCB-Longwood."

esiRNA are endoribonuclease-prepared siRNAs synthesized by in vitro transcription of a 300-600-bp gene specific double-stranded RNA, followed by enzymatic digestion. This collection of siRNA-like molecules is then purified, resulting in a complex pool of siRNA molecules all targeting different sequences of a single gene.

For more information on MISSION(R) esiRNA, please visit

About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company. Its biochemical and organic chemical products and kits are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and other high technology manufacturing. The Company has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Over one million scientists and technologists use its products. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 38 countries and has 7,800 employees providing excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to Accelerating Customer Success through Innovation and Leadership in Life Science, High Technology and Service. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its award-winning Web site at

About Max Planck Institute: The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) is one of 80 institutes of the Max Planck Society, an independent, non-profit organization in Germany. MPI-CBG was founded in 1998 and since February 2001, scientists from over 40 nations have been working under one roof. The Institute has a core staff of about 400 scientists, which form a network of 27 research groups covering different topics at the interface of cell biology and developmental biology including research investigating illnesses such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease. For example, at the MPI-CBG researchers study how the growth of cells is controlled and why this control process fails to function properly in cancer cells. Once science has an understanding of how cellular control systems work, currently incurable illnesses may be diagnosed earlier with a view to developing more effective treatments.

The MPI-CBG has forged partnerships with technology providers in many of its major areas of research since it believes that the greatest insight and new discoveries are made when innovations in new technologies allow problems in research to be addressed or investigated in new ways. For more information about the Max Planck Institute, please visit

Cautionary Statement: This release contains forward-looking statements relating to future strategic actions and initiatives and similar intentions and beliefs and other statements regarding the Company's expectations, beliefs, intentions and the like, which involve assumptions regarding the Company's operations and conditions in the markets the Company serves. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Sigma-Aldrich and MISSION are registered trademarks of Sigma-Aldrich Biotechnology LP and Sigma-Aldrich Co.

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