Gene Silencing Methods Are Being Used For Biomedical Research For The Development Of Potential Disease Therapeutics

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Different gene silencing methods are being used in biomedical research for the development of potential disease therapeutics. Most of these methods are similar in that they involve the disabling of mRNA by preventing it from being translated into a protein. They differ in the type of molecule used to disrupt mRNA. Due to these differences, each silencing method has specific advantages and disadvantages. Two of the most currently understood methods of gene silencing are RNA interference (RNAi) and antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). In RNAi, the molecules that identify the target mRNA are called small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). These siRNAs are short, synthetically made double-stranded RNA molecules (Koenig et al. 2013). The combining of siRNAs with a particular target mRNA causes the degradation of the target mRNA by recruiting other proteins to break the mRNA down. ASOs are engineered to associate with a target mRNA strand. The binding of the ASO to mRNA allows a protein to breakdown the mRNA. Unlike siRNAs, ASOs are smaller, single-stranded RNA molecules. ASOs are often chemically modified to increase their durability in a biological environment because they are single stranded and less stable than the dsRNA in RNAi. As mentioned above, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of gene silencing. Due to the fact that siRNAs are double-stranded, they are more stable and less vulnerable to degradation than ASOs, which allows them to perform their…

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