Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel and colleagues uncovered how small changes in the molecular machines that carry out RNA interference can lead to big differences in the efficacy of gene silencing. Their findings have implications for the design of gene-silencing therapeutics.

Researchers frequently turn to C. elegans to learn about not only their biology, but our own. C. elegans is one of the most intimately understood species in biology—the first animal to have its complete genome sequenced or its neural circuitry completely mapped. How did this simple worm become so well studied and a fixture in laboratories around the world?

Researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel have identified new genetic sequences that can lead to the degradation of cellular regulators called microRNAs. The finding will allow scientists to learn more about the microRNA degradation pathway, which is critical for some species to survive.

Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel’s lab has uncovered how a key shift in RNA regulation happens early in embryonic development, providing new insight into when and how genes are regulated differently during development.