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Scientists discover small RNAs that regulate gene expression and protect the genome
Date:5/13/2008

Pseudogenes, in the past assumed to be useless junk DNA, are damaged copies of normal genes left over from previous genetic events. The researchers found that RNA copies of normal genes sometimes pair up with copies from the related pseudogenes, resulting in double-stranded RNAs that -- far from being junk -- are able to activate the cells regulatory apparatus.

The new findings add another layer of complexity to our understanding of the byzantine processes by which small RNA molecules influence genetic activity. Viewed in combination, Dr. Hannon and colleagues write, our studies suggest an evolutionarily widespread adoption of double-stranded RNAs as regulatory molecules.


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Contact: Jim Bono
bono@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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