Send to

Choose Destination
Bioessays. 2015 Feb;37(2):175-81. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400163. Epub 2014 Oct 31.

Does RNA editing compensate for Alu invasion of the primate genome?

Author information

Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.


One of the distinctive features of the primate genome is the Alu element, a repetitive short interspersed element, over a million highly similar copies of which account for >10% of the genome. A direct consequence of this feature is that primates' transcriptome is highly enriched in long stable dsRNA structures, the preferred target of adenosine deaminases acting on RNAs (ADARs), which are the enzymes catalyzing A-to-I RNA editing. Indeed, A-to-I editing by ADARs is extremely abundant in primates: over a hundred million editing sites exist in their genomes. However, there are few essential editing sites conserved across mammals that have maintained their editing level despite the radical change in ADAR target landscape. Here, we review and discuss the cost of having an unusual amount of dsRNA and editing in the transcriptome, as well as the opportunities it presents, which might have contributed to the accelerated evolution of the primates.


Alu repeat; RNA-editing; dsRNA; primate-evolution

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center