Antisense technique:

Method of inhibiting the activity of a certain gene

The genetic information encoded by genes is conveyed with the help of the messenger RNA (mRNA). Messenger RNA travels to ribosomes - sites of protein production. This is how genes are expressed.

As a targeted method of disrupting this process, scientests have transformed plants with reversed, or "antisense" genes. When antisense genes are expressed, an mRNA molecule is produced that is a mirror image of the targeted gene. The two, opposite mRNAs bind to one another, disrupting their function and making protein synthesis impossible. In effect, the targeted gene is blocked.

The antisense strategy has been used by plant breeders to block the synthesis of amylose starch in potatoes.


Glossary

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