RNA-directed transcriptional gene silencing in mammals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


RNA interference is a highly conserved pathway mediating sequence-specific RNA degradation. In plants, the short RNA intermediates of this pathway can also drive transcriptional silencing of target genes by DNA methylation. Until recently, there was no evidence that a similar pathway operated in mammals; two new studies suggest that small RNAs can direct DNA methylation and chromatin modification in human cells. Although further investigation is required to determine how widespread RNA-directed DNA methylation is in mammals, the findings raise the possibility that this pathway, far from being merely a curiosity of plant systems, is a conserved mechanism for control of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-373
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


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