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Trends Genet. 2005 May;21(5):287-8.

Waste not, want not--transcript excess in multicellular eukaryotes.

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Institute of Experimental Pathology, ZMBE, University of Münster, Von-Esmarch-Str. 56, Münster, Germany.


There is growing evidence that mammalian genomes produce thousands of transcripts that do not encode proteins, and this RNA class might even rival the complexity of mRNAs. There is no doubt that a number of these non-protein-coding RNAs have important regulatory functions in the cell. However, do all transcripts have a function or are many of them products of fortuitous transcription with no function? The second scenario is mirrored by numerous alternative-splicing events that lead to truncated proteins. Nevertheless, analogous to 'superfluous' genomic DNA, aberrant transcripts or processing products embody evolutionary potential and provide novel RNAs that natural selection can act on.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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