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Is There a Word for 'Promiscuous Binding' for RNAi?

Making RNAi work in therapeutic application is tricky, and here, Derek Lowe reports on a paper published in Nature last week that does a good job demonstrating just how much researchers don't know. They used RNAi to knock down VEGF, whose overactivation leads to macular degeneration. In the end, they found that many different small interfering RNA sequences can work, and what's really being targeted is TLR3, the cell surface receptor that works downstream on factors that turn off angiogenesis. "The companies that are already dosing RNAi therapies for macular degeneration have just discovered that there's an awful lot that they don't know about what they're doing, for one thing," Lowe writes. "On the flip side, there are a lot of human cell types with TLR3 receptors on them, and a lot of angiogenic disorders that could potentially be treated, at least partially, by targeting them in this manner."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.