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RNA. 2003 Mar;9(3):277-9.

A uniform system for microRNA annotation.

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  • 1Dartmouth Medical School Department of Genetics, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA gene products about 22 nt long that are processed by Dicer from precursors with a characteristic hairpin secondary structure. Guidelines are presented for the identification and annotation of new miRNAs from diverse organisms, particularly so that miRNAs can be reliably distinguished from other RNAs such as small interfering RNAs. We describe specific criteria for the experimental verification of miRNAs, and conventions for naming miRNAs and miRNA genes. Finally, an online clearinghouse for miRNA gene name assignments is provided by the Rfam database of RNA families.

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