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Trends Plant Sci. 2003 Jan;8(1):42-9.

Plant snoRNAs: functional evolution and new modes of gene expression.

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  • 1Gene Expression Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK. jbrown@scri.sari.ac.uk


Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are a well-characterized family of non-coding RNAs whose main function is rRNA modification. The diversity and complexity of this gene family continues to expand with the discovery of snoRNAs with non-rRNA or unknown targets. Plants contain more snoRNAs than other eukaryotes and have developed novel expression and processing strategies. The increased number of modifications, which will influence ribosome function, and the novel modes of expression might reflect the environmental conditions to which plants are exposed. Polyploidy and chromosomal rearrangements have generated multiple copies of snoRNA genes, allowing the generation of new snoRNAs for selection. The large snoRNA family in plants is an ideal model for investigation of mechanisms of evolution of gene families in plants.

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