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J Anim Sci. 2009 Apr;87(14 Suppl):E21-8. doi: 10.2527/jas.2008-1303. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

MicroRNA: mechanism of gene regulation and application to livestock.

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US Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE 68933, USA.


Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression plays a role in multiple cellular pathways. MicroRNA (miRNA) are an emerging class of small RNA that regulate gene translation. However, the mechanisms by which miRNA regulate this process remain controversial. By altering posttranscriptional regulation, miRNA have a role in guiding developmental decisions, including cell fate, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, adipocyte differentiation, and processes that alter muscle development and growth. The role of miRNA in developmental decisions that affect animal biology is of significant interest, yet the current literature is limited in livestock models. Therefore, a review of the mechanisms by which miRNA alter gene translation and the current research evaluating miRNA in production livestock is needed.

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