Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are employed naturally by the body to patrol cells and turn off potentially harmful genes.
Mark Kay, at Stanford University in California, USA, and colleagues have now exploited this by expressing designer RNAs in laboratory mice.
| Small interfering RNAs turn off harmful genes naturally.
| Nature |
The engineered RNA molecules can bind to hepatitis C virus RNA and prevent virus replication.
Other work published in Nature online last week shows that specific RNAs can also interfere with the replication of polio and HIV viruses in test tube experiments.