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Genes Dev. 2007 Jan 1;21(1):11-42.

Eukaryotic regulatory RNAs: an answer to the 'genome complexity' conundrum.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


A large portion of the eukaryotic genome is transcribed as noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). While once thought of primarily as "junk," recent studies indicate that a large number of these RNAs play central roles in regulating gene expression at multiple levels. The increasing diversity of ncRNAs identified in the eukaryotic genome suggests a critical nexus between the regulatory potential of ncRNAs and the complexity of genome organization. We provide an overview of recent advances in the identification and function of eukaryotic ncRNAs and the roles played by these RNAs in chromatin organization, gene expression, and disease etiology.

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