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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 594738, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/594738
Review Article

An Evolutionary Perspective of Animal MicroRNAs and Their Targets

1Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
2Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Received 27 March 2009; Accepted 17 June 2009

Academic Editor: Bibekanand Mallick

Copyright © 2009 Noam Shomron et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression through translational inhibition or mRNA degradation by binding to sequences on the target mRNA. miRNA regulation appears to be the most abundant mode of posttranscriptional regulation affecting 50% of the transcriptome. miRNA genes are often clustered and/or located in introns, and each targets a variable and often large number of mRNAs. Here we discuss the genomic architecture of animal miRNA genes and their evolving interaction with their target mRNAs.