Monday, July 02, 2007

A Biological Revolution

The RNA revolution; Biology's Big Bang, an article from 'The Economist,' makes an analogy between recent scientific history and present day developments by comparing 20th century physics to 21st century biology. The driving force behind the biological revolution is identified as RNA. Just as momentous technological and social changes resulted from advances in 20th century theoretical physics, the same is anticipated for the biological revolution.

In fact vital technological innovations, centered around RNA, which affect research and medicine, already have taken place. RNA interference plays an important role in the business of many biotechnology firms. One well known biotechnology enterprise states the following at its website:

"Long double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs; typically >200 nt) can be used to silence the expression of target genes in a variety of organisms and cell types (e.g., worms, fruit flies, and plants). Upon introduction, the long dsRNAs enter a cellular pathway that is commonly referred to as the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway."

This silencing tool can identify previously unknown biological functions and helps to pin down interactive biochemical relationships.

New evidence indicates that the generation of RNA is more common than previously believed. Even our concepts of origin could be affected by the dynamics of RNA and the resulting knowledge it leads to. These developments are worth watching.

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