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Science 306 (5693): 67-68

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Chemical Genetics Hits "Reality"

David S. Bellows and Mike Tyers

Forward chemical genetic screening is analogous to the classical genetics strategy of mutagenesis, except that a small molecule takes the place of a genetic mutation in altering the function of one or more gene products. In their Perspective, Bellows and Tyers discuss an elegant forward chemical genetic screen that identifies small-molecule inhibitors called ubistatins that disrupt the cell's protein degradation machinery (Verma et al.). This work is an excellent example of the systematic identification of small-molecule inhibitors of complex biological processes and the characterization of their molecular targets.

The authors are at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X5, Canada. E-mail: tyers{at}

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