Welcome Everybody to the Thursday 5/6 Homepage

Our Mission:

For the past few weeks, all of Dean Mac and Ms. Appel’s molecular biology students have been working on a project called RNAi. RNAi, or RNA interference, is a natural system in cells that contributes to gene activity and expression. RNAi has also been called post-transcriptional gene silencing and we learned about its discovery before we put it into practice. Andrew Fire and Carmen Mello’s 1998 discovery of RNAi gene targeting went on to merit the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Through their work with C. elegans, a nemotode worm of about one millimeter in length (see picture below), they discovered that exposing cells to double-stranded RNA can stop messenger RNA from coding for certain targeted proteins. This interruption disables translation of the encoded information and silences the gene. They concluded that by interfering with the transcription process, they could control gene expression, and these new changes could be spread from cell to cell and even be passed on to new generations.
As interesting as this is on the small scale, the RNAi studies have become increasingly important in broader scale applications. Being able to turn off genes during developmental processes can enable defense against viruses, protecting genes from dangerous mutations, gene mapping and genetic engineering, and plant breeding. Furthermore, there have been many developments for medical application and improved treatments for many different disorders, including viral infections like HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, metabolic disorders, and even cancer.

Check Out What Our Class Has Been Working On

Experimental Divisions:

Other Divisions of the Project:


What is RNAi?:

1."RNA interference (RNAi) is a highly evolutionally conserved process of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) by which double stranded RNA (dsRNA), when introduced into a cell, causes sequence-specific degradation of homogolous mRNA sequences." http://www.rnaiweb.com/RNAi/What_is_RNAi/
2. "A system within living cells that helps to control which genes are active and how active they are."

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