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Exploring small RNA function
2'-O-methyl RNA oligonucleotides can block small RNA activity--providing a tool to determine their biological functions. These oligonucleotides can also be used to identify small RNA-associated proteins that mediate silencing pathways. (2004-02-24)

MicroRNA targets: How big is the iceberg?
Small RNAs that do not encode proteins themselves can regulate mRNA molecules. Hundreds of microRNAs have been identified in plants, animals, and humans, but their specific functions have remained elusive because we don't know their targets. Stephen Cohen and colleagues have taken a bioinformatics approach to identify targets in the fruit fly Drosophila. Their method and lists of predicted targets represent an important step towards our understanding of how microRNAs affect protein composition. (2003-10-13)

MicroRNAs - Tiny molecules shape up plants
Small RNA molecules have big effects on plant shape, according to a report published in the online edition of the journal Nature. These findings were the result of a transatlantic collaboration. Using the model plant Arabidopsis, the new study shows for the first time how very short RNAs called microRNAs control plant shape by guiding destruction of much larger messenger RNAs. (2003-08-22)

'MicroRNAs' control plant shape and structure
New discoveries about tiny genetic components called microRNAs explain why plant leaves are flat. These and other findings in this evolving field of research could ultimately have enormous implications for advances in agriculture. (2003-08-20)

Novel method identifies 'hidden' genes
MiRNAs--a class of regulatory genes found in humans--long went undetected by traditional gene hunting methods because they do not code for proteins, the benchmark typically used to define genes within a genome. Using a new computational strategy, scientists have developed a way to identify miRNAs in different animals, taking an important towards understanding the roles they play in cell growth and development. (2003-04-17)

MicroRNAs in plants
Researchers at MIT and Rice University have discovered that microRNAs, an emerging class of non-protein gene regulators thus far only identified in animals, also exist in plants. By extending the known phylogenetic range of miRNAs to plants, this work points to an ancient evolutionary origin for microRNAs. The report is published in the July 1 issue of the scientific journal Genes & Development. (2002-06-30)

Putting microRNAs in their place
Scientists have discovered a novel protein complex that may help shed light on the function of a newly discovered class of small RNAs, as well as a common hereditary neurodegenerative disease. Published in G&D, researchers have successfully identified 31 novel very small RNAs, called microRNAs (miRNAs), and the protein complex that houses them. By identifying the components of this complex, the scientists were able to infer potential functions for the miRNAs. (2002-03-14)

New small gene class found by Dartmouth geneticists may exert far reaching influence on cell behavior
Geneticists at Dartmouth Medical School have discovered a new family of unusually small genes that act in the finely tuned yet remarkably versatile orchestration of development and behavior, adding still another dimension to the diversity and complexity of the cell (2001-10-25)

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