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MicroRNAs: The Mega Regulators in Eukaryotic Genomes

Author(s): Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch | Muhammad Younas Khan Barozaia | M.Din

Journal: Pure and Applied Biology
ISSN 2304-2478

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 83;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Gene silencing | MicroRNA | Non coding RNAs | Translation suppression

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small, noncoding RNAs of 18-25 nucleotide (nt) in length that negatively regulate their complementary messenger RNAs (mRNAs) at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional level in many eukaryotic organisms. By affecting the gene regulation, miRNAs are likely to be concerned with most biological processes. Majority of the miRNA genes are found in intergenic regions or in anti-sense orientation to genes and have their own miRNA gene promoter and regulatory units. In contrast to their name and size, the miRNAs perform mega functions in eukaryotic organisms. They perform important functions in plants and animals during growth, organogenesis, transgene suppression, signaling pathway, environmental stresses, disease development and defense against the invading viruses. miRNAs are evolutionarily conserved from species to species within the same kingdom. However, there is a controversy among scientists about their conservation from animals to plants. Their conserved nature becomes an important logical tool for homologous discovery of miRNAs in other species. This review is aimed at describing some basic concepts regarding biogenesis and functions of miRNAs.
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