On this day in 1998…

Nature publishes the paper “Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans” by Andrew Fire, SiQun Xu, Mary K. Montgomery, Steven A. Kostas, Samuel E. Driver and Craig C. Mello. Double-stranded RNA had been recognized in science since the 1950s, but was thought to primarily occur in viruses. The work reported in this paper—for which Fire and Mello were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006—demonstrated for the first time the role of double-stranded RNA in silencing the expression of individual genes. Subsequently, this RNA silencing has been found in nearly every type of animal cell.

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