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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Jun;20(3):274-80. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 May 28.

Multifaceted mammalian transcriptome.

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Genome Science Laboratory, Discovery and Research Institute, RIKEN Wako Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Despite surprisingly a small number of protein-coding gene in mammalian genomes, a large variety of different RNAs is being produced. These RNAs are amazingly different in their number, size, cell localization, and mechanism of actions. Although new classes of short RNAs (sRNAs) are being continuously discovered, it is not yet obvious how many of the sRNAs are originated. Altogether, the research in the recent few years has identified an unexpectedly rich variety of mechanisms by which noncoding RNAs act, suggesting that we have identified probably only few of the many potential functional mechanism and more investigation will be needed to comprehensively understand the complex nature and biology of mammalian RNAome. Here, we focus on various aspects of the diversity of the biological role of these nonprotein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), with emphasis on functional mechanisms recently elucidated.

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