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Testifiable, and falsifiable.

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  • bri_mue
    Sidney Hagen: My point on testifiable, and falsifiable.Brian: The story of the discovery dates back to 1990, but the real breakthrough occurred in 1998,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2002
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      Sidney Hagen:"My point on testifiable, and falsifiable."

      Brian: The story of the discovery dates back to 1990, but the real
      breakthrough occurred in 1998, when Andrew Fire, at the Carnegie
      Institution, affiliated to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found=

      that RNA – a close cousin of DNA, the molecule of inheritance – could
      switch off genes.

      Dr Fire coined the phrase "RNA interference" and explained it by
      suggesting that genes can be selectively silenced. That would mean
      defective genes that cause tumours, or genes necessary for a virus to
      replicate in a cell, could be turned off.

      But the real breakthrough occurred in experiments this year which
      involved testing the idea on human cells – Dr Fire had shown it only on a
      microscope nematode worm. Two independent teams of researchers
      demonstrated that human cells in a test tube could be made to resist
      infection with HIV, and a third set of researchers found that it worked
      against the polio virus – in a way that they believe will prove effective
      against other human viruses.

      "In the past year we've realised that this machinery of RNA interference
      works just as well in human cells. It's led to an explosion in interest,"
      Professor Carmichael said.

      Five years ago there were just a handful of scientific papers published
      on RNAi, two years ago there were 100, last year there were 1,000 and
      this year there will be thousands more, he said.

      One idea for Aids treatment is to take out a person's blood cells and
      engineer them using RNAi to make them immune to HIV. The patient
      should then be resistant to infection.

      The beauty of the process is that it is specific to the gene being targeted=

      and so the interference should not result in the silencing of other
      important genes, Professor Carmichael said. This is important when it
      comes to possible side-effects. "If you design it against HIV then there is=

      almost no possibility that it will result in a perfect match against the
      patient's own DNA," he said.
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