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Cell. 2008 Jan 11;132(1):9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.12.024.

Getting to the root of miRNA-mediated gene silencing.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


MicroRNAs are approximately 22 nucleotide-long RNAs that silence gene expression posttranscriptionally by binding to the 3' untranslated regions of target mRNAs. Although much is known about their biogenesis and biological functions, the mechanisms allowing miRNAs to silence gene expression in animal cells are still under debate. Here, we discuss current models for miRNA-mediated gene silencing and formulate a hypothesis to reconcile differences.

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