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From Biocompare, “The Disease Fighting Potential of Long Non-coding RNAs”

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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are mysterious molecules. They are almost-proteins—transcripts of about 200 or more nucleotides that appear not to encode proteins. Given their noncoding status, it is perhaps surprising that many lncRNAs are expressed in very specific anatomical or developmental patterns, suggesting that their regulation is of biological importance. At the cellular level, most lncRNAs, also called large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs), are localized to the nucleus. In addition, most lncRNAs either overlap with genes that encode proteins, are transcribed antisense to genes that encode proteins or are expressed as intergenic or intronic regions.

But why spend energy tightly regulating the expression and localization of RNA molecules that don’t eventually end up as proteins? And what do they actually do? Recent advances in RNA sequencing are providing a look at these mysterious molecules, which can be perused in new databases such as the Human Body Map lincRNAs catalog developed by the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Realizing the many lncRNAs out there whose functions we have yet to learn, it appears today’s knowledge is just the tip of the lncRNA iceberg.

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3 Replies to “From Biocompare, “The Disease Fighting Potential of Long Non-coding RNAs”

  1. 1

    Looks like that Central Dogma led us astray yet again. 🙂

  2. 2
    gpuccio says:

    This is extremely interesting, especially the part about new micorarrays routinely including lncRNAs.

    Just a comment:

    ” The ENCODE project’s goal is to “identify all regions of transcription, transcription factor association, chromatin structure and histone modification in the human genome sequence,” according to the project’s website.

    It’s an ambitious goal indeed, and I wish them the best. I have always believed that transcription regulation is the key factor to understand some of the complexity of life. In transcription regulation we will be able, I hope, to see some hints of those “missing procedures” that still elude our comprehension.

    That’s certainly bad news for neo darwinists. Those who have followed, at least in part, my long discussions with them about dFSCI in the last few months may be aware that I stick usually to the context of biological information in basic protein domains.

    The reason for that is not certainly that the functional information in the final effectors (proteins) is the biggest part of the functional information in the genome. It is not. I am perfectly aware that most important information is in the regulation procedures, and therefore probably in non coding DNA.

    But… I am convinced that we must discuss our competing theories only where the true molecular aspect of functional information is known. Only an explicit understanding of the molecular basis of function can allow a quantitative approach to the information linked to the function itself.

    We know well enough how protein coding genes are structured, how they work, what they do. We know the code, we know the sequences, and the relationships between sequences in the genome and proteome. The discussion can be done, in great detail.

    Unfortunately, that cannot yet be done for the rest of the information, for the procedures, the regulation, the true software. We know it must be there, we can guess it is probably mainly in non coding DNA. But we really have no idea of its working, of its code or codes, of how it is written, and therefore we cannot analyze its complexity.

    So, we have, for the moment, to go on with what we know: that 2% of our genome, the final effectors, the proteins. I know, I know: it’s more than enough. Neo darwinism cannot even start to vaguely explain that small part.

    But bad times are coming for them. There is much, much more to be explained.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    How long before “they” come out with a “Long non-coding RNA” supplement?

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