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BIT 471: RNA Interference


  • Introduce students to the history of RNA Interference (RNAi) and its applications in common model organisms with a focus on the experimental design.
  • Students perform RNAi experiments in Nicotiana benthamiana (tobaccoa plants), in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and in mammalian cell culture (human embryonic kidney cell line, HEK293).


  1. Introduction to RNAi
  2. Post Transcriptional Gene Silencing in Plants
  3. C.elegans: RNAi History and Experiments
  4. Drosophila: RNAi Background and Experiments
  5. RNAi and Mammalian Systems
  6. MicroRNAs, Antisense RNA and Other RNA Silencers
  7. Therapeutic Uses of RNA


  1. Preparation of DNA-Directed Silencing Constructs 1 week
  2. Virus Induced Gene Silencing of Magnesium Chelstase, a Chlorophyll Biosynthesis Enzyme, in Tobacco Plants. Real Time RT-PCR Assay 5 weeks
  3. C. elegans RNAi Experiment to Knockdown Transgenic GFP Expression via Feeding of Silencing Constructs. Qualitative Phenotypic Assesment 2 weeks
  4. Transient Transfection Delivery of Short Hairpin RNA Expression Plasmids to Mammalian Cell Culture. Semi-quantitative Western Blot. 3 weeks

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