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Annotating noncoding RNA genes.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, United Kingdom.


Noncoding RNA genes produce a functional RNA product rather than a translated protein. More than 1500 homologs of known "classical" RNA genes can be annotated in the human genome sequence, and automatic homology-based methods predict up to 5000 related sequences. Methods to predict novel RNA genes on a whole-genome scale are immature at present, but their use hints at tens of thousands of such genes in the human genome. Messenger RNA-like transcripts with no protein-coding potential are routinely discovered by high-throughput transcriptome analyses. Meanwhile, various experimental studies have suggested that the vast majority of the human genome is transcribed, although the proportion of the detected RNAs that is functional remains unknown.

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