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Science 293 (5538): 2269-2271

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Role for the RNase III Enzyme DCR-1 in RNA Interference and Germ Line Development in Caenorhabditis elegans

Scott W. Knight, Brenda L. Bass*

An early event in RNA interference (RNAi) is the cleavage of the initiating double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) to short pieces, 21 to 23 nucleotides in length. Here we describe a null mutation in dicer-1 (dcr-1), a gene proposed to encode the enzyme that generates these short RNAs. We find that dcr-1(-/-) animals have defects in RNAi under some, but not all, conditions. Mutant animals have germ line defects that lead to sterility, suggesting that cleavage of dsRNA to short pieces is a requisite event in normal development.

Department of Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Utah, 50 North Medical Drive, Room 211, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: bbass{at}

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