Where is a scientist to begin studying a newly cloned gene that has no apparent function or phenotype? A common approach for obtaining functional clues is to inactivate the gene either in vitro or in vivo and observe the outcome. Antisense technology provides a powerful technique to study the functional consequences of gene silencing without deleting the gene altogether.

In antisense technology, a DNA oligonucleotide complementary to the mRNA to be silenced is synthesized and introduced into the cell. The antisense DNA oligonucleotide hybridizes to the target mRNA and blocks protein production. For optimal activity and practicality, antisense oligos should be affordable, nuclease resistant, efficiently delivered across the cell membrane, and water soluble. They should also have high binding affinity and specificity for the selected sequence.

In 1997 GENE TOOLS was founded as the only commercial source for research quantities of "Morpholino" oligos. The constituents of these chains differ from...

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