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RNA-interference-based functional genomics in mammalian cells: reverse genetics coming of age


Sequencing of complete genomes has provided researchers with a wealth of information to study genome organization, genetic instability, and polymorphisms, as well as a knowledge of all potentially expressed genes. The identification of all genes encoded in the human genome opens the door for large-scale systematic gene silencing using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs). With the recent development of siRNA and shRNA expression libraries, the application of RNAi technology to assign function to cancer genes and to delineate molecular pathways in which these genes affect in normal and transformed cells, will contribute significantly to the knowledge necessary to develop new and also improve existing cancer therapy.

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We thank JP O'Keefe for critical reading and suggestions. JS is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the US Army Prostate Cancer Research Program. FVR is a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Cancer Research Fund fellow. GJH is supported by an Innovator Award from the US Army Breast Cancer Research Program and by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Gregory J Hannon.

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Silva, J., Chang, K., Hannon, G. et al. RNA-interference-based functional genomics in mammalian cells: reverse genetics coming of age. Oncogene 23, 8401–8409 (2004).

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  • RNAi
  • high throughput screening
  • functional genomics
  • cancer
  • apoptosis
  • synthetic lethality

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