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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Oct;23(10):578-87. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

Origins and evolution of eukaryotic RNA interference.

Author information

1
National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA. shabalin@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Abstract

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and genome-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) silence genes via complementary interactions with mRNAs. With thousands of miRNA genes identified and genome sequences of diverse eukaryotes available for comparison, the opportunity emerges for insights into the origin and evolution of RNA interference (RNAi). The miRNA repertoires of plants and animals appear to have evolved independently. However, conservation of the key proteins involved in RNAi suggests that the last common ancestor of modern eukaryotes possessed siRNA-based mechanisms. Prokaryotes have an RNAi-like defense system that is functionally analogous but not homologous to eukaryotic RNAi. The protein machinery of eukaryotic RNAi seems to have been pieced together from ancestral archaeal, bacterial and phage proteins that are involved in DNA repair and RNA processing.

PMID:
18715673
PMCID:
PMC2695246
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2008.06.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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