GSBS Student Publications


A distinct small RNA pathway silences selfish genetic elements in the germline

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Drosophila Proteins; Drosophila melanogaster; Female; Germ Cells; Male; Mutation; Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis; Ovary; Peptide Initiation Factors; Periodic Acid; Phosphates; Proteins; *RNA Interference; RNA, Antisense; RNA, Messenger; RNA, Small Interfering; Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid; Retroelements; Terminal Repeat Sequences; Testis


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


In the Drosophila germline, repeat-associated small interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs) ensure genomic stability by silencing endogenous selfish genetic elements such as retrotransposons and repetitive sequences. Whereas small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) derive from both the sense and antisense strands of their double-stranded RNA precursors, rasiRNAs arise mainly from the antisense strand. rasiRNA production appears not to require Dicer-1, which makes microRNAs (miRNAs), or Dicer-2, which makes siRNAs, and rasiRNAs lack the 2',3' hydroxy termini characteristic of animal siRNA and miRNA. Unlike siRNAs and miRNAs, rasiRNAs function through the Piwi, rather than the Ago, Argonaute protein subfamily. Our data suggest that rasiRNAs protect the fly germline through a silencing mechanism distinct from both the miRNA and RNA interference pathways.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Science. 2006 Jul 21;313(5785):320-4. Epub 2006 Jun 29. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal Title

Science (New York, N.Y.)

PubMed ID