Two papers were recently published in the journal Science providing evidence that mammalian cells can use RNA interference (RNAi) to inhibit the replication of mammalian viruses. Sorry they are not open access by the papers are too interesting to ignore! This has become an important finding because it was widely believed that after we couldn’t find it, it didn’t occur. These papers have not come without their controversy and many do not believe that that 1) they are correct and 2) if they are right, then RNAi is not really important in mammals because we have other defences like interferons, antibodies and other innate and adaptive immune functions. 

The jury is out, so make your own mind up. Here’s a couple of questions to think about:

do you believe the data?

why did they have to use those specific viruses and cells?

do you believe RNAi is important to mammals?

why don’t mammals use RNAi?

Paper 1: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6155/231.abstract

Paper 2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6155/235.abstract

Two good commentary articles are found in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6155/207.fulland Cell: http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/abstract/S1931-3128(13)00331-4. 

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