We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is RNA Interference?

Michael Anissimov
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

RNA interference is a natural genetic mechanism present in most plants and animals. Its function is to protect the cellular machinery from invasion and exploitation by viruses and other foreign genetic material. RNA interference can silence specific genes, making it a valuable research tool in biotechnology research and even next-generation medical therapies. For instance, if we could use RNA interference to silence the genes responsible for a slow metabolism, we could allow people to lose weight without forcing them to go on a diet or fighting against their natural dietary tendencies.

Recall that viruses reproduce by inserting their genetic material into the genome of a host, reprogramming it to pump out copies of the virus. After a few hundred viruses are produced by the genetic machinery of the cell, it bursts, releasing more virions which go on to infect other cells. The main point of RNA interference is to suppress certain sections of the genome so that viruses cannot exploit it to produce copies.

Most organisms have a genome that produces messenger RNA which goes on to instruct the cell’s protein-producing machinery to create various proteins. RNA interference consists of special segments of RNA, called small interfering RNA strands (siRNA) which have nucleotide sequences complementary to the targeted RNA strand. These complementary strands serve as a targeting mechanism which guides proteins to the mRNA of choice, dicing the long double-stranded RNA molecules into fragments which cannot be translated into proteins. In this way, specific genes can be silenced.

Today, the use of RNA interference for biotechnological and therapeutic purposes is a hot research area. RNA interference used to selectively suppress desired genes is a form of genetic engineering. Imagine curing or making progress towards a cure for AIDS, hepatitis, and the flu – all through selectively suppressing the expression of viral genomes. Fully utilizing RNA interference, we might be able to create cotton seeds without poison — they possess great amounts of protein but natural cotton seeds are poisonous — tobacco without carcinogens, and plants with extreme resistance to crop-destroying viruses. RNA interference is a valuable method in the biotechnological toolbox which will continue ushering in the biotech revolution for the 21st century.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WiseGeek contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WiseGeek contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology,...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.