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Short RNAs of 21 or 22 nucleotides have been shown to mediate RNA interference. Significance and context RNA interference (RNAi) by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a powerful method for preventing the expression of a particular gene. But how does dsRNA target mRNA for destruction? Using a Drosophila in vitro system, Elbashir et al. have now analyzed the molecular mechanism of RNAi and find that the dsRNA is processed into fragments of 21 or 22 nucleotides, which are the mediators of RNA. Thedoi:10.1186/gb-2001-2-4-reports0009 fatcat:nn3krlqiybazhbsicoi5i7wq7q