When a cell is exposed to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), mRNA from the homologous gene is selectively degraded by a process called RNA interference (RNAi). Here, we provide evidence that dsRNA is amplified in Caenorhabditis elegans to ensure a robust RNAi response. Our data suggest a model in which mRNA targeted by RNAi functions as a template for 5' to 3' synthesis of new dsRNA (termed transitive RNAi). Strikingly, the effect is nonautonomous: dsRNA targeted to a gene expressed in one cell type can lead to transitive RNAi-mediated silencing of a second gene expressed in a distinct cell type. These data suggest dsRNA synthesized in vivo can mediate systemic RNAi.