From Catherine Offord at the Scientist:
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have attracted growing attention in recent years, but their function in living organisms has long remained a mystery. Now, researchers report that one circRNA, Cdr1as, regulates microRNA levels in the mammalian brain, and that its removal results in abnormal neuronal activity and behavioral impairments in mice. The findings were published today (August 10) in Science.
“There are few papers where you can really say it’s a breakthrough,” says Sebastian Kadener, a neuroscientist and circRNA researcher at Brandeis University who was not involved in the work. “But this paper is really exciting. It’s the first real demonstration of a function of these molecules in vivo in an animal.”More.
A breakthrough now but probably the first in a long series later. See also Phys.org:
RNA is much more than the mundane messenger between DNA and the protein it encodes. Indeed, there are several different kinds of non-coding RNA molecules. They can be long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) or short regulatory RNAs (miRs); they can interfere with protein production (siRNAs) or help make it possible (tRNAs). In the past 20 years, scientists have discovered some two dozen RNA varieties that form intricate networks within the molecular microcosm. The most enigmatic among them are circRNAs, an unusual class of RNAs whose heads are connected to their tails to form a covalently closed ring. These structures had for decades been dismissed as a rare, exotic RNA species. In fact, the opposite is true. Current RNA-sequencing analyses have revealed that they are a large class of RNA, which is highly expressed in brain tissues. More. [color emphasis added]
Why do people insist of “dismissing” things before they study them?
See also: “Junk” RNA helps regulate metabolism
Junk DNA defender just isn’t doing politeness any more.
Anyone remember ENCODE? Not much junk DNA? Still not much. (Paper is open access.)
Yes, Darwin’s followers did use junk DNA as an argument for their position.
Another response to Darwin’s followers’ attack on the “not-much-junk-DNA” ENCODE findings