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Plate Reader versus High Content RNAi Screens. Who's Right?
Sheffield University

There are few research areas that have expanded as quickly and spectacularly as the field of RNA interference (RNAi). RNAi based research is now maturing into a multi-billion pound industry. The notion that we can systematically switch off every gene in the genome and screen for important biological processes has become both practical and routine. Marrying this technology with High Content Microscopy we are capable of asking important phenotypic questions in a systematic way. The Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility was born from the fundamentals of the initially highly successful Drosophila melanogaster screening platform and now we operate both the Fruit Fly and Human systems. Due to the ability to compare two screens from different organisms for the first time, results will be presented from a high content siRNA screen in a Human cell line, comparing results to previously intensive screens from 3 genome-wide Drosophila screens completed using a plate reader platform. We will present the benefits and difficulties of both cellular platforms. While presenting the results, we will discuss issues such as the complexities of the type of screening approach adopted.

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