Gene silencing by double-stranded RNA

R. W. Carthew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Eukaryotes silence gene expression in the presence of double-stranded RNA homologous to the silenced gene. Silencing occurs by the targeted degradation of mRNA. Biochemical reactions that recapitulate this phenomenon generate RNA fragments of 21-23 nucleotides from the double-stranded RNA. These stably associate with an RNA endonuclease and probably serve as a discriminator to select mRNAs. Once selected, mRNAs are cleaved at sites 21-23 nucleotides apart. This mechanism, termed RNAi, has functional links to viral defense and silencing phenomena, such as cosuppression. It also functions to repress the hopping of transposable elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene silencing by double-stranded RNA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this