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In ovo RNAi opens new possibilities for temporal and spatial control of gene silencing during development of the vertebrate nervous system

Loss-of-function approaches are important tools for functional gene analysis. Due to the availability of sophisticated methods to manipulate gene expression in embryonic stem cells that can be used to generate mutant mice, the mouse is by far the most important vertebrate model organism for basic and applied biomedical research. Unfortunately, the available methods do not allow for precise temporal and spatial control of gene silencing during embryonic development limiting the usefulness of the mouse for developmental studies. Due to their easy accessibility chicken embryos have been one of the preferred model organisms for developmental studies. Their disadvantage, the lack of genetic tools, could be overcome by the development of in ovo RNAi (in ovo RNA interference), a method that allows for temporal and spatial control of gene silencing in vivo.

Author(s): Thomas Baeriswyl and Esther T Stoeckli*