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In this way, detection of the RNA cancer marker triggers the self-assembly of a long double-stranded RNA polymer.
Working in the mid-1990s with a roundworm, Fire and Mello found that double-stranded RNA with a given sequence shuts down protein production of the gene with a matching sequence.
Binding of the influenza virus NS1 protein to double-stranded RNA inhibits the activation of the protein kinase that phosphorylates the elF-2 translation initiation factor.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores, uses a short, double-stranded RNA to outwit a cell's defensive measures.
In the RNAi pathway, long pieces of double-stranded RNA are cut into smaller pieces by the "dicer" enzyme to form small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that are about 21 nucleotides long.
Isolates from the same outbreak had identical double-stranded RNA sequences, suggesting that this technique may be useful for tracking Cryptosporidium infection sources.
RNAi is an important method for analyzing gene function and identifying new drug targets that uses double-stranded RNA to knock down or silence specific genes.
The process begins when a cell chews double-stranded RNA into bite-size fragments of about 25 base pairs, the chemical building blocks of RNA.