Genome complexity; lncRNA (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, April 05, 2013, 18:34 (2176 days ago) @ David Turell

Much rising interest in lncRNA.

"At the time, modifying gene expression using lncRNA was not a common goal. In the early 2000s, most molecular biologists were interested in the 1...2% of the human genome that encodes proteins, which were presumed to be the brokers of biological functions. But with the rise of high-throughput sequencing, researchers learned that far from being without function, much of the rest of the genome was transcribed into non-coding RNA, including 20-nucleotide microRNAs, which suppress genes, and lncRNAs of 100 nucleotides or more.

"Last September, the multi-institution ENCODE project to catalogue human DNA elements (see Nature 489, 46...48; 2012) revealed that three-quarters of the human genome is transcribed into non-coding RNA, and that there may be between 10,000 and 200,000 lncRNAs. Scientists have shown that these can activate gene expression and silence genes, and links with disease have begun to emerge.

"Enthusiasm for lncRNA has replaced much of the science community's scepticism. Molecular biology and biochemistry departments have taken note of a flurry of high-impact manuscripts, and some are hiring scientists to work in the emerging field. Funding is becoming easier to find. And the first biotechnology companies focused on lncRNA have taken root."

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