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Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Feb;8(2):93-103.

The evolution of gene regulation by transcription factors and microRNAs.

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Center for Comparative Functional Genomics, Department of Biology, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.


Changes in the patterns of gene expression are widely believed to underlie many of the phenotypic differences within and between species. Although much emphasis has been placed on changes in transcriptional regulation, gene expression is regulated at many levels, all of which must ultimately be studied together to obtain a complete picture of the evolution of gene expression. Here we compare the evolution of transcriptional regulation and post-transcriptional regulation that is mediated by microRNAs, a large class of small, non-coding RNAs in plants and animals, focusing on the evolution of the individual regulators and their binding sites. As an initial step towards integrating these mechanisms into a unified framework, we propose a simple model that describes the transcriptional regulation of new microRNA genes.

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