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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Mar;9(3):219-30. doi: 10.1038/nrm2347.

Small non-coding RNAs in animal development.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 266 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The modulation of gene expression by small non-coding RNAs is a recently discovered level of gene regulation in animals and plants. In particular, microRNAs (miRNAs) and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) have been implicated in various aspects of animal development, such as neuronal, muscle and germline development. During the past year, an improved understanding of the biological functions of small non-coding RNAs has been fostered by the analysis of genetic deletions of individual miRNAs in mammals. These studies show that miRNAs are key regulators of animal development and are potential human disease loci.

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