Guidelines for Experiments Using Antisense Oligonucleotides and Double-Stranded RNAs

Keith T. Gagnon, David R. Corey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


After decades of research and development, synthetic nucleic acids are beginning to enjoy significant success in the clinic. Approved drugs have increased interest in the field, and many basic research studies have focused on synthetic nucleic acids to control the action of messenger RNA and noncoding RNAs. Unfortunately, experimental designs are often inadequate, resulting in misleading interpretation of data and unconvincing work that wastes resources and does little to advance the field. The goal of this commentary is to outline the problems facing many researchers, especially those new to the use of synthetic oligonucleotides. We describe the minimum control experiments necessary to build a strong case for real effects that are likely due to interactions at the intended molecular target. A common set of standards for preparing and judging experiments should facilitate better interpretation of data and publications that contribute positively to using synthetic nucleic acids as tools and drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalNucleic Acid Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • antisense oligonucleotide
  • controls
  • duplex RNA
  • guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Discovery


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