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Recent advances in our understanding of the pathobiology of non-coding RNA

Author:

Jernej Zorman

Oxford University, GB
About Jernej
Medical Sciences Division, undergraduate student
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Abstract

The central dogma of molecular biology recognised RNA as a mere intermediate between DNA sequence and proteins, the main protagonists of cellular functions. The shadow of a wrinkle in this concept appeared when the Human Genome Project revealed that protein-coding genes only account for 2% of our genome and the remaining 98% was originally dismissed as elusive “junk DNA.” Recent advances in next-generation sequencing provided tantalising evidence that 70-90% of human genome is actively transcribed(1). Numerous studies started discerning the functional importance of long and short (>200 and <200 nucleotides, respectively) non-coding transcripts far beyond the initial textbook-engraved infrastructural and information-transmitting role of rRNA, tRNA and mRNA. By “rediscovering the junk,” this essay reviews a selection of recent disease-associated advances in the field of small non-coding RNAs before extending the discussion to long non-coding RNAs and finally to the overarching concepts of competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) and ‘social’ RNA.
Keywords: Medical Genetics  
How to Cite: Zorman J. Recent advances in our understanding of the pathobiology of non-coding RNA. The British Student Doctor. 2018;2(2):27–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/bsdj.72
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Published on 30 Jun 2018.
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