Gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) allows, for the first time, investigation of the balance between the life and death of a cell under stress-free conditions. Thus it is now possible to (i) identify key antiapoptotic genes that constitutively enable, for example, cancer cell survival, and (ii) map the pathways such genes control (using RNAi co-silencing). New gene targets for anticancer therapy are identified and, full circle, RNAi provides the means for their selective therapeutic silencing.

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