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RNA. 2003 Feb;9(2):175-9.

New microRNAs from mouse and human.

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Department of Cellular Biochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 121, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a new class of noncoding RNAs encoded in the genomes of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. MicroRNAs regulate translation and stability of target mRNAs based on (partial) sequence complementarity. Although the number of newly identified miRNAs is still increasing, target mRNAs of animal miRNAs remain to be identified. Here we describe 31 novel miRNAs that were identified by cloning from mouse tissues and the human Saos-2 cell line. Fifty-three percent of all known mouse and human miRNAs have homologs in Fugu rubripes (pufferfish) or Danio rerio (zebrafish), of which almost half also have a homolog in Caenorhabditis elegans or Drosophila melanogaster. Because of the recurring identification of already known miRNAs and the unavoidable background of ribosomal RNA breakdown products, it is believed that not many more miRNAs may be identified by cloning. A comprehensive collection of miRNAs is important for assisting bioinformatics target mRNA identification and comprehensive genome annotation.

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