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PLoS Genet. 2007 Dec;3(12):e215.

Most Caenorhabditis elegans microRNAs are individually not essential for development or viability.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a large class of short noncoding RNAs found in many plants and animals, often act to post-transcriptionally inhibit gene expression. We report the generation of deletion mutations in 87 miRNA genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, expanding the number of mutated miRNA genes to 95, or 83% of known C. elegans miRNAs. We find that the majority of miRNAs are not essential for the viability or development of C. elegans, and mutations in most miRNA genes do not result in grossly abnormal phenotypes. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that there is significant functional redundancy among miRNAs or among gene pathways regulated by miRNAs. This study represents the first comprehensive genetic analysis of miRNA function in any organism and provides a unique, permanent resource for the systematic study of miRNAs.

PMID:
18085825
PMCID:
PMC2134938
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.0030215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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