Health Problems

New guidelines push for better controlled experiments with synthetic nucleic acids

Researchers have proposed new guidelines to overcome current problems facing scientists developing synthetic nucleic acids—such as antisense oligonucleotides and double-stranded RNAs—as drugs and research tools. The guidelines, which promote a common set of standards for judging experiments and more efficient use of resources, are published in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics.

In the article entitled “Guidelines for Experiments Using Antisense Oligonucleotides and Double-Stranded RNAs” coauthors Keith Gagnon, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and David Corey, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, TX state that current experimental designs are too often inadequate, leading to misleading interpretation of data and findings that are unsupportable and a waste of resources.

The authors provide practical advice for performing experiments with synthetic nucleic acids, including long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) and present minimum standards for published research. They focus on topics including experimental design, measuring gene expression, measuring cell uptake, selecting controls for cell culture experiments and animal studies, and special cases.

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