Hammond, Scott M. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:September 2016
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- How microRNAs are made
- How microRNAs work
- Roles of microRNAs in biology
- How microRNAs contribute to disease
- MicroRNAs as therapeutic targets
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A class of small, noncoding ribonucleic acids regulating the expression of protein-coding genes. MicroRNAs (also miRNAs) [Fig. 1] are short, single-stranded, noncoding ribonucleic acids (RNAs) [approximately 22 nucleotides (nt) in length] that are expressed by all multicellular eukaryotes. Although microRNAs do not encode proteins directly, they can regulate the expression of about 60% of all protein-coding genes in humans. Thus, microRNAs play important roles in a variety of biological processes. See also: Gene; Genetics; Nucleotide; Protein; Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
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