Structural Biochemistry/Cell Organelles/RNA

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RNA

RNA has many different functions. The major three are rRNA (ribosomal RNA) which is the most abundant and helps form ribosomes, mRNA which takes the transcribed message from the DNA and sends it through a ribosome for it to be translated into a protein and tRNA which attaches amino acids based on the codon that was on the mRNA. However a recently discovered function of RNA is RNAi (RNA interference).

RNA Interference

RNA interference was accidently discovered by trying to make a plant's flower more purple. Scientist took the gene to make a plant's flower purple and placed it in the plant's cell. A few days later they realized that instead of a purple flower they got a white flower. This surprised scientist until recently they discovered RNAi. RNAi is like the cop of the cell and whenever a virus comes in and spreads their own RNA, the RNAi see this as looking mysterious and destroys it and everything that looks like it. This is exactly what happened to the scientist trying to darken the color of the flower. The plant saw the new gene that the mRNA was transcribing from the DNA as mysterious and possible a virus so the RNAi destroyed that gene and every other gene that looked like it. Hence, all the color genes for the flower were destroyed so the flower turned out to be white. Now that scientist have discovered this they plan on using this to their advantage for possibly fighting cancer and HIV. There has been one case where an elderly lady was becoming blind because her eyes were creating too much blood cells and her vision was becoming very blurry. So scientist tested the RNAi and placed a gene in her eye cell to create more blood cells. The RNAi saw this gene and thought it was a virus and dangerous to the body so the RNAi destroyed that gene and all other genes like it. Her eye cells have been producing less amount of blood cells and her vision has been getting better. RNAi is a very interesting function for RNA and is still being studied today to possibly help other patients with more severe diseases.