Send to

Choose Destination
  • PMID: 28812735 was deleted because it is a duplicate of PMID: 28529980
Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 Feb 21;1(3):27. doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0027.

The evolutionary origin of plant and animal microRNAs.

Author information

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
Department of Molecular Evolution and Development, Centre of Organismal Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


microRNAs (miRNAs) are a unique class of short endogenous RNAs that became known in the last few decades as major players in gene regulation at the post-transcriptional level. Their regulatory roles make miRNAs crucial for normal development and physiology in several distinct groups of eukaryotes including plants and animals. The common notion in the field is that miRNAs have evolved independently in those distinct lineages, but recent evidence from non-bilaterian metazoans, plants, as well as various algae raise the possibility that already the last common ancestor of these lineages might have employed a miRNA pathway for post-transcriptional regulation. In this review we present the commonalities and differences of the miRNA pathways in various eukaryotes and discuss the contrasting scenarios of their possible evolutionary origin and their proposed link to organismal complexity and multicellularity.


Conflict of interest statement

Competing financial interests. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center