A gene-silencing tool could enable new opportunities for advancing basic biomedical research and drug development. The technique draws on the power of small noncoding RNA molecules that normally suppress gene activity. Known as Piwi-interacting RNAs, or piRNAs, these regulatory molecules normally play a critical role in bringing genomic parasites (transposable elements) to heel. But geneticist Christian Frøkjær-Jensen, PhD, and his colleagues at King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) co-opted this piRNA pathway to deliberately quell the activity of target genes of interest.
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