On the art of identifying effective and specific siRNAs

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of RNA Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 186, New York, New York 10021, USA.
Nature Methods (Impact Factor: 25.95). 10/2006; 3(9):670-6. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth911
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been widely exploited for sequence-specific gene knockdown, predominantly to investigate gene function in cultured vertebrate cells, and also hold promise as therapeutic agents. Because not all siRNAs that are cognate to a given target mRNA are equally effective, computational tools have been developed based on experimental data to increase the likelihood of selecting effective siRNAs. Furthermore, because target-complementary siRNAs can also target other mRNAs containing sequence segments that are partially complementary to the siRNA, most computational tools include ways to reduce potential off-target effects in the siRNA selection process. Though these methods facilitate selection of functional siRNAs, they do not yet alleviate the need for experimental validation. This perspective provides a practical guide based on current wisdom for selecting siRNAs.

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