Overview

RNA interference, or RNAi, is a process that sequence-specifically destroys mRNA, causing null or hypomorphic phenotypes. RNAi provides an excellent technology platform for gene expression and gene function studies in many different models, including Drosophila, C. elegans, and mammalian cell systems. RNAi allows researchers to fully or partially suppress the expression of a specific gene, allowing targeted gene knockout and gene knockdown.

Small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, are short RNA molecules of 19 to 22 nucleotides in length. The siRNAs are generated via cleavage of dsRNA templates by DICER, an RNAse III ribonuclease. The siRNAs are then incorporated into an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) and unwound into single-stranded siRNAs. Next, the single-stranded siRNAs guide the RISC complex to the target mRNAs for destruction, causing RNA interference. Depending on the amount of siRNA expressed and its inhibitory efficiency, expression of the target gene can be either completely blocked or measurably suppressed. This allows researchers to determine and study the function of genes, particularly the genes that are lethal upon complete knockout. GenScript's Tet-on and other inducible siRNA expression vectors provide the fine degree of controlled RNAi necessary to these delicate experiments.

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