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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

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find related articles. powered by google. MicroRNAs greatly influence the evolution of genes

"RNA continues to shed its reputation as DNA's faithful sidekick. Now, researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel have found that a class of small RNAs called microRNAs influence the evolution of genes far more widely than previous research had indicated.

"MicroRNAs are affecting the majority of protein-coding genes, either at a functional level or an evolutionary level," says Andrew Grimson, a post-doctoral fellow in Bartel's lab."

find related articles. powered by google. Wired News MicroRNA Is a Big Topic in Bio

"Researchers estimate there could be anywhere from 200 to 1,000 miRNAs -- the range is wide because miRNAs are so small, making them difficult to detect. Gary Ruvkun, a Harvard University researcher and pioneer of miRNA research, has called the tiny entities "the biological equivalent of dark matter, all around us but almost escaping detection.""

redux [09.13.05]
find related articles. powered by google. Palm Beach Post Scripps Florida scientists explore RNA

""We have to redefine the definition of a 'gene,' " said Claes Wahlestedt, pharmacogenomics director for The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter.

It appears that DNA's sibling, RNA, or ribonucleic acid, plays a key role in the regulation of genes. Its molecules act as both management and labor within the cell, transcribing some genes into hardworking proteins while preventing the expression of others, Wahlestedt said."

"Scientists call a theory first advanced by Francis Crick the "central dogma" of biology. It said that DNA spelled out a gene, RNA read the gene and then RNA helped make the gene's protein. The latest research is forcing a much more complex view of biology.

"Taken together, it means the central dogma since the 1950s has to be rethought," Wahlestedt said."

find related articles. powered by google. Stanford Medicine Magazine Secret life of RNA

"Part of RNAi’s mystery is its very unexpectedness. RNA’s normal role in the cell is to carry a message from a gene to the cytoplasm where it directs a protein-making assembly line. That public life of RNA has been known for decades. In RNA’s covert life, it destroys those very messages and prevents proteins from being made. That’s like finding out your neighbor has a secret life destroying her own landscaping. It caught people off guard.

“This changed how people think about doing science,” says Aaron Straight, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry. He says researchers can now look at the effects of every gene in an organism. “That’s an extraordinary advantage,” he says."

find related articles. powered by google. Science In the Forests of RNA Dark Matter

"For a long time, RNA has lived in the shadow of its more famous chemical cousin DNA and of the proteins that supposedly took over RNA's functions in the transition from the "RNA world" to the modern one. The shadow cast has been so deep that a whole universe (or so it seems) of RNA--predominantly of the noncoding variety--has remained hidden from view, until recently.

Nor is RNA quite so inert or structurally constrained as its cousin; its conformational versatility and catalytic abilities have been implicated at the very core of protein synthesis and possibly of RNA splicing."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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