UNIT 16.1 Overview of Gene Silencing by RNA Interference

  1. Daniel H. Kim1,
  2. John J. Rossi2

Published Online: 1 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/0471142700.nc1601s36

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

How to Cite

Kim, D. H. and Rossi, J. J. 2009. Overview of Gene Silencing by RNA Interference. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry. 36:16.1:16.1.1–16.1.10.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

  2. 2

    Graduate School of Biological Sciences and Division of Molecular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: MAR 2009


The potential of harnessing RNA interference (RNAi) for sequence-specific gene silencing has generated much excitement and progress in the field. Recent advances in RNAi technology suggest that RNAi-based approaches may soon become an effective therapeutic strategy against a myriad of diseases. This overview provides a brief description of important considerations when designing an RNAi-based method for gene silencing and therapeutic development: (a) mechanistic aspects of RNAi-mediated gene silencing in mammalian cells; (b) structural requirements for potent siRNA duplexes; (c) off-target effects and interferon responses; and (d) effective delivery of RNAi-inducing agents. Promising therapeutic applications of RNAi that are currently in the developmental pipeline are also described. Curr. Protoc. Nucleic Acid Chem. 36:16.1.1-16.1.10. © 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • RNAi;
  • siRNA;
  • microRNA;
  • shRNA;
  • transcriptional gene silencing