Using DNA technology to help manage the nation’s wildlife. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
This week we’re focusing on technology in agriculture. As part of normal bodily functions, a cell’s DNA sends out “messages” to other parts of the cell to create specific proteins. These proteins are the building blocks of organisms.
For instance, if the body needs to build more muscle, the DNA sends out a message triggering the production of more muscle proteins. These DNA “messages” are strands of RNA. siRNA (also known as “small interfering RNA”) is a specially designed RNA molecule used to disrupt the expression of a particular gene. Using siRNA, scientists can create specific RNA strands or “messages” to address complex problems. These RNA strands direct the cells’ own machinery to attack and destroy other naturally occurring RNA strands that have complementary nucleotide sequences. Such “interfering” allows scientists to use the body’s natural defenses to eliminate the production of certain proteins.
APHIS Wildlife Services scientists hope to harness the power of siRNA to improve the selectivity and effectiveness of wildlife damage management tools, such as contraceptives, repellents, and toxicants.
Information provided by USDA APHIS
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.