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Human genome-wide RNAi library for biotech and pharma research

In a paper published this week in the journal Nature (March 25), scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory announced the creation of the first library of human RNA interference (RNAi) clones, which will eventually provide users the ability to shut off virtually every gene in the human genome. Based on a versatile and powerful method for triggering RNAi - short hairpin RNA (shRNA) - the library is the first DNA vector-based, human genome-wide RNAi library that is sequence verified.

Several leading pharmaceutical companies have entered into agreements with Long Island-based Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), to take advantage of the strong potential for therapeutic discovery that this powerful library promises to deliver. Licensing non-exclusive rights allows these companies to use the RNAi library for target identification and validation purposes.

"The beauty of the RNA interference phenomenon is its potential to shut off individual genes and only those genes," said Dr. Greg Hannon, lead scientist in the development of the new library. "By individually targeting more than 10,000 human genes through this sequence-based method, a wide variety of companies can rapidly identify and validate target genes that cause disease, and develop drugs to hit those targets."

RNA interference is sweeping the biotech world, because it provides researchers a convenient way to silence individual genes. A variety of methods exist for triggering RNAi. However, the short-hairpin (shRNA) method developed by Hannon and his colleagues is one of the most efficient and has been validated in a large number of studies with different animal and human cell cultures as well as in whole animals, where the method has been shown by Hannon's group to trigger stable, heritable gene silencing. In addition, the sequence-validated library of short hairpin RNA molecules targets each one of more than 10,000 different human genes in triplicate, i.e. with three
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Contact: Peter Sherwood
sherwood@cshl.edu
516-367-6947
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
26-Mar-2004


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