The editor's intro note to an article on molecule biology in The Economist (Really New Advances, June 14, 2007) reads:
"Molecular biology is undergoing its biggest shake-up in 50 years, as a hitherto little-regarded chemical called RNA acquires an unsuspected significance."
Unsuspected means "not suspected, not believed to be likely." That is to say, the importance of RNA, which, the article explains, "looked a bit like DNA but wasn't" may have been overlooked. In fact, its "significance" has been overlooked, which is the whole point of the article.
According to the article, DNA, "in the form of genes, contained the instructions for making proteins" whereas RNA "obediently carried genetic information from DNA in the nucleus to the places in the cell where proteins are made.
"All that was worked out decades ago. Since then, RNA has been more or less neglected as a humble carrier of messages and fetcher of building materials. This account of the cell was so satisfying to biologists that few bothered to look beyond it. But they are looking now. For, suddenly, cells seem to be full of RNA doing who-knows-what" (if you want to read the story in full, hit thislinkhttp://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9333471&CFID=7934141&CFTOKEN=38686699).
Anyways, RNA's significance has been overlooked because it was previously unsuspected - not suspected to exist.
"Unsuspected" here is passive voice. In active voice, it might be said that RNA's significance has up to now been overlooked by unsuspecting scientists.
They were unsuspecting - not suspecting, suspect being its root. "Suspect" as in "suspicious" (I know, I know) - a person who's suspicious is distrustful of what meets the eye and is likely to look further into things to make certain, all the time expecting that something will actually turn out differently. A person who's unsuspecting on the other hand is someone who is not knowing and not expecting, not believing that something is likely to happen and therefore not likely to do anything about it.
An unsuspecting person, as we are wont to suspect, is likely to be deceived. We talk about the gullible (ready to believe) masses, you see, and they are the people who are unsuspecting, always ready to take the word from people, especially those from a position of authority, for granted - without doubting, without questioning.
All of this reminds me of the innumerous times that I have been asked to help people translate the Chinese phrase "不明真相的群众".
Exactly, I'm talking about the very gullible and unsuspecting masses.
In fact, I've come across this phrase so many times that I begin to suspect that all of these people are in China.
I'm kidding, of course. It's not true - China does not have a monopoly on unsuspecting masses. In fact, to even suggest so I might run the risk of being accused of cultural chauvinism. Americans for instance certainly have a valid point if they choose to argue that they too boast of something considerable when it comes to unsuspecting masses and a gullible public.
Americans, you see, have Iraq.