gene silencing


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gene silencing

The inhibition of transcription of a gene. DNA METHYLATION is an important cause of gene silencing and when this affects tumour-suppressor genes may be a cause of cancer.

gene silencing

A therapeutic technique to prevent the expression of genes that are acting harmfully. Double-stranded RNA molecules introduced into cells with viral vectors are processed by an enzyme known as dicer. This frees short interfering RNA segments (siRNAs) which are then unzipped into two RNA strands. These then produce a complex which binds to the complementary RNA coding for a protein thus preventing the synthesis of the protein. The potential for gene silencing seems considerable and may have a role in the management of cancer by blocking angiogenesis and of wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.