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Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Nov;8(11):884-96.

Specialization and evolution of endogenous small RNA pathways.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Myers Hall, 915 East Third Street, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


The specificity of RNA silencing is conferred by small RNA guides that are processed from structured RNA or dsRNA. The core components for small RNA biogenesis and effector functions have proliferated and specialized in eukaryotic lineages, resulting in diversified pathways that control expression of endogenous and exogenous genes, invasive elements and viruses, and repeated sequences. Deployment of small RNA pathways for spatiotemporal regulation of the transcriptome has shaped the evolution of eukaryotic genomes and contributed to the complexity of multicellular organisms.

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