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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2007 Feb;14(2):103-5.

Transcriptional noise and the fidelity of initiation by RNA polymerase II.

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  • Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. kevin@hms.harvard.edu


Eukaryotes transcribe much of their genomes, but little is known about the fidelity of transcriptional initiation by RNA polymerase II in vivo. I suggest that 90% of Pol II initiation events in yeast represent transcriptional noise, and that the specificity of initiation is comparable to that of DNA-binding proteins and other biological processes. This emphasizes the need to develop criteria that distinguish transcriptional noise from transcription with a biological function.

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