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Volume 2013, Article ID 783253, 12 pages
Review Article

Biogenesis and Biological Activity of Secondary siRNAs in Plants

Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center, Part of the Swiss Plant Science Web, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland

Received 30 October 2012; Accepted 6 December 2012

Academic Editors: A. P. Malykhina, H. Schatten, and M. Wassenegger

Copyright © 2013 Franck Vazquez and Thomas Hohn. 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.


Two important hallmarks of RNA silencing in plants are (1) its ability to self-amplify by using a mechanism called transitivity and (2) its ability to spread locally and systemically through the entire plant. Crucial advances have been made in recent years in understanding the molecular mechanisms of these phenomena. We review here these recent findings, and we highlight the recently identified endogenous small RNAs that use these advantageous properties to act either as patterning signals in important developmental programs or as a part of regulatory cascades.