With completion of the “genome project” in human and mouse, we have entered the postgenome era, centered around the analysis of 30,000 to 40,000 gene functions. At present, ES cells and homologous recombination serve as powerful tools for many researchers aiming to elucidate the function of target genes in live animals. However, such methods are slow and cumbersome and are limited to mouse because of the technical difficulty in establishing ES cells in other species. Any improved technique should meet the following criteria: (a) simplicity of method to facilitate analysis of many genes in a short period of time, and (b) applicability to species other than mouse. RNAi could thus serve as an alternative, or supplemental, method to homologous re-combination.
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