Environmental Factor, December 2004, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
New RNAi Library will Help Fight Disease
NIEHS is will compile a new RNAi library to help fight disease. The effort will provide researchers worldwide with data to determine how genes and environment interact to cause disease.
RNAi technology "turns off" specific genes, allowing scientist to learn more about how they influence the cell. Understanding how a gene responds to a stress allows scientists to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how chemicals and toxins can undermine health.
While similar efforts are underway in other places, the NIEHS project will focus on genes related to environmental health and toxicology. Researchers will use the data to rapidly determine gene function and see which genes are responsible for adverse responses to drugs, chemicals or other environmental stressors.
NIEHS Director Ken Olden said the library will help researchers gain insight into important cellular responses to stress and ultimately to public health issues such as the effects of exposure to environmental toxicants. The library will be available to the scientific community under the auspices of the National Center for Toxicogenomics, which coordinates efforts to develop toxicogenomics knowledge bases. The data will also be available to the public.