Transcription factor oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) decoys are new research tools designed to enhance the study of gene regulation. The approach involves flooding the cells with enough double-stranded decoy to compete for binding of transcription factors with their consensus sequences in target genes. If present in high-enough concentrations, these "decoys" can negate the ability of the transcription factor to regulate gene expression. The technology has proven effective in vitro and more recently, in vivo.1,2

Auckland, New Zealand-based has designed ODN decoys to more than 45 common transcription factors, with plans to release more. Each decoy is a double-stranded, synthetic phosphorothioate deoxynucleotide, from 20 to 28 base pairs in length. "The flanking regions are proprietary," explains Paul Hughes, the company's CEO, "but the standard consensus regions are from transcription factor databases available on the Internet."

These decoys offer several benefits. First, they can be used in real time, in living...

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