The conventional approach to investigate genotype-phenotype relationships has been the generation of gene targeted murine strains. However, the emergence of RNAi technologies has opened the possibility of much more rapid (and indeed more cost effective) genetic manipulation in vivo at the level of the transcriptome. Successful application of RNAi in vivo depends on intracellular targeted delivery of siRNA/shRNA molecules for efficient knockdown of the desired gene. In this review, we discuss the rationale and different strategies of using siRNA/shRNA for accomplishing the silencing of targeted genes in a spatial and /or temporally regulated manner. We also summarise the steps involved in extending these approaches to in vivo applications, with a specific focus upon the development of silencing in the mouse.