Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Modeling RNA interference in mammalian cells

Giulia Cuccato, Athanasios Polynikis, Velia Siciliano, Mafalda Graziano, Mario di Bernardo and Diego di Bernardo*

BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5:19  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-19

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This paper provides proof that the Hill type equation describes the RNA interfence

Raya Khanin   (2011-05-25 15:38)  Bioinformatics Core, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center email

In this paper, the authors performed in vitro experiments in human and hamster cell lines measuring levels of mRNAs and proteins for a large range of concentrations of siRNA oligomers. They demonstrate the the Hill type equation is the most efficient way to model RNA interference. It would have been a nice study had the authors were not carried away by suddenly referring to the Hill model as theirs. They continue by saying that their "model has a simple mathematical form, amenable to analytical investigations and a small set of parameters with an intuitive physical meaning, that makes it a unique and reliable mathematical tool".

Indeed, the Hill model was introduced by Archibald Hill in 1910, and has since been applied to numerous biological processes, from enzyme reactions to microRNA-mediated gene regulation. In my view, the author's claim in the abstract's conclusion that it is "their" model puts an unnecessary shadow on their own work, warrants questions of mis-representation (hopefully unintentional) and asks for a general debate on model's ownership and how seriously scientific community should consider it.

Competing interests

None declared


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