MicroRNAs are a recently discovered large class of small, non-coding genes. Each animal genome contains hundreds of these genes, which have been shown to regulate the expression of protein coding genes by binding to partially complementary sites in messenger RNAs. However, little is known about the biological function of these tiny genes, which are encoded in a string of 21 to 24 DNA bases.
In a series of four high-profile papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Developmental Biology, and PloS Computational Biology published over the past 15 months, researchers at New York Universitys Center for Comparative Functional Genomics have shed light on the function and evolution of microRNA across a wide set of genomes. Their newest findings appear in the inaugural issue of Public Library of Sciences journal, PloS Computational Biology.
This study, headed by NYU Assistant Biology Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky, included researchers Dominic Grün, Yi-Lu Wang, and David Langenberger, and Research Assistant Professor Kristin Gunsalus, all at NYUs Center for Comparative Functional Genomics. By comparing seven recently sequenced fly species, they found that thousands of genes in the genome of a laboratory model organism--the fruit fly--are likely to be regulated by microRNAs.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
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