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Science magazine has declared advances in understanding molecules called "small RNAs" as the top scientific achievement of 2002. This "Breakthrough of the Year" research was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Once thought to be mere foot soldiers that carry out DNA's orders, RNA molecules are now known to play a significant role in controlling gene expression and other cellular activities. NIGMS grantees whose discoveries are included in the Science Breakthrough of the Year include Dr. Andrew Fire of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore, Md.; Dr. Craig Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Dr. Gregory Hannon and Dr. Shiv Grewal of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Dr. Martin Gorovsky of the University of Rochester in New York, and Dr. C. David Allis of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville.
Two other NIGMS-funded research areas were named among the Science magazine top 10 achievements for 2002: research on TRP (transient receptor potential) ion channels that allow us to taste spicy hot and minty cool sensations, and advances in a technology called cryoelectron tomography, which makes it possible to view cellular structures in three dimensions.
NIGMS supports basic biomedical research and training nationwide. NIGMS-funded studies lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
See the Science news release on the top ten scientific achievements of 2002: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-12/aaft-tt121202.php
For more information, please call the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.
Writer: Linda Joy
More information about NIGMS-funded research on RNA interference can be found at the following links to news releases posted on the American Association for the Advancement of Science's EurekAlert! Web site:
New Insight into Fragile X Syndrome: Scientists Identify Possible Link to RNAiNews Release, September 30, 2002
New Tool Speeds Study of Mammalian Protein FunctionNews Release, April 15, 2002
Scientists Devise New 'Gene Silencing' Strategy: Genome, Biomedical Research Expected to FlourishNews Release, April 14, 2002
Tiny Worm Reveals Workings of Suspected Tumor ProteinMarch 31, 1998
For more information about NIGMS-funded research on TRP ion channels, see the following links:
Nerve Protein Shown Crucial to Sensations of Pain from Heat, InjuryNews Release, April 10, 2000
Scientists Discover Protein in Mammals Tuned to Respond to What May Be Hottest Temperature Our Nerves Can DetectNews Release, March 31, 1999
Hot Peppers and High Heat Pack Same Punch: Scientists Identify and Clone the Pain-Inducing Protein Set Off by Both StimuliNews Release, October 27, 1997
For more information about NIGMS-funded research on cryoelectron microscopy, see the following links:
Hepatitis C virus clamps onto protein synthesis machineryNews Release, March 8, 2001
Study reveals structure of DNA packaging motor in virusNews Release, December 6, 2000
Technique shows ratcheting motion of ribosomesNews Release, July 19, 2000
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