What is the authors’ question?
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The authors were determined to find out the causative factor for the manifestation of interference.
What is their hypothesis?
The interfering RNA populations are those that have double-stranded character.
What did they do to test their hypothesis?
They produced a batch with purified single-stranded RNA and compared the interference activities of individual stranded RNA to double-stranded RNA. To test interference, the research group introduced the specially prepared RNA into the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to manipulate gene expression.
What were their results?
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The researchers expressed their surprise when they discovered that double-stranded RNA was more potent when it comes to creating changes to the cells and the progeny of the infected animals. They examined the impact of the injection of single-stranded RNA into the nematodes and discovered that this action only produced a modest effect. This result was in sharp contrast to the action of double-stranded mixtures because the group observed potent and specific interference. The researchers also found out that the double-stranded RNA’s impact was not only on the cells, it was also on the offspring of the infected animals. The group also pointed out the importance of the discovery that only a few molecules of double-stranded RNA were required to affect interference. It is also imperative to highlight the result of the experiment when the group monitored the eggs that were produced several days after the injection of double-stranded RNA. The group discovered that the animals were able to produce unaffected progeny.
What do their results mean?
Observers can glean at least three major insights from the results of the said experiment. The first major insight is related to the molecular structure of the RNA. It can be argued that due to the difference in the molecular structure, the number of certain molecules may have an indirect effect on the creation of interference. In other words, the difference in the molecular structure of the double-stranded RNA enabled the substance to affect gene silencing in the targeted animal cells.
The second major insight relates to the ability of the dsRNA to cause interference even if the said dsRNA was introduced at a considerable distance from the affected gene. Therefore, an effective RNA-transport mechanism exists within the cell structure of the Caenorhabditis elegans.
The third major insight relates to the long term durability of the injected dsRNA. It was observed that the injected animals were able to produce eggs several days after the introduction of the altered RNA strand. It was also observed that it took several days for some animals to produce normal or unaffected progeny. It means that the majority of the affected animals continue to produce abnormal progeny several days after the injection of dsRNA took place. If RNA coming from an external source can have this effect, then, it can be argued that locally produced RNA has the same long-term impact on the cells. It means that the RNA molecule within each cell has a very potent effect on the cell multiplication process. Thus, it is important to find out the exact mechanism of interference. This experiment simply provides the type of alteration needed to affect change. However, there is not enough information to specifically determine the mechanism that compels the cells to produce abnormal progeny.