Non-coding RNAs: Meet thy masters

Costa, F. F.

Bioessays. 2010 Jun 15; 32(7):599-608

Abstract

New DNA sequencing technologies have provided novel insights into eukaryotic genomes, epigenomes, and the transcriptome, including the identification of new non-coding RNA (ncRNA) classes such as promoter-associated RNAs and long RNAs. Moreover, it is now clear that up to 90% of eukaryotic genomes are transcribed, generating an extraordinary range of RNAs with no coding capacity. Taken together, these new discoveries are modifying the status quo in genomic science by demonstrating that the eukaryotic gene pool is divided into two distinct categories of transcripts: protein-coding and non-coding. The function of the majority of ncRNAs produced by the transcriptome is largely unknown; however, it is probable that many are associated with epigenetic mechanisms. The purpose of this review is to describe the most recent discoveries in the ncRNA field that implicate these molecules as key players in the epigenome.

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