NIGMS-Funded RNA Research Named Breakthrough of the Year


NIGMS Communications Office
(301) 496-7301

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.

Small RNA hairpin loop Courtesy of V. Hornak C. SimmerlingOnce 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:

For more information, please call the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.

Writer: Linda Joy

Related Links

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:

For more information about NIGMS-funded research on TRP ion channels, see the following links:

For more information about NIGMS-funded research on cryoelectron microscopy, see the following links: