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RNA Interference

RNA Interference for Gene Knockdown and Silencing

RNA interference (RNAi) is an endogenous post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanism mediated by non-coding RNA molecules known as microRNAs. microRNAs can target hundreds of genes simultaneously and induce subtle but reproducible shifts in gene expression.

This mechanism can be used for targeted gene silencing by introduction of nucleic acid based tools that are specially designed to work within the endogenous RNAi pathway. These molecules are taken up by the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC) to target specific mRNAs for degradation or to either supplement or inhibit endogenous microRNAs.

Currently, there are three primary categories of RNAi tools to perform these functions: small interfering RNA (siRNA), short hairpin RNA (shRNA), and microRNA mimics and inhibitors.

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