Intergenic lncRNAs and the evolution of gene expression

Author: Marques, Ana C.; Ponting, Chris P.

Description: Eukaryote genomes encode a surprisingly large number of noncoding transcripts. Around two-thirds of human transcribed loci do not encode protein, and many are intergenic and produce long (>200 nucleotides) noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Extensive analyses using comparative genomics and transcriptomics approaches have established that lncRNA sequence and transcription tend to turn over rapidly during evolution. Our appreciation of the biological roles of lncRNAs, based only on a handful of transcripts with well-characterized functions, is that lncRNAs have diverse roles in regulating gene expression. These proposed roles together with their rapid rates of evolution suggest that lncRNAs could contribute to the divergent expression patterns observed among species and potentially to the origin of new traits.

Subject headings: Animals; Evolution; Molecular; Gene Expression; Genetic Variation; Humans; Phenotype; RNA; Long Noncoding; lncRNAs

Publication year: 2014

Journal or book title: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development

Volume: 27

Pages: 48-53

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Serial number: 3192

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