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News: The Complex Truth About ‘Junk DNA’ (WIRED) - Behind the headlines

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WIRED September 26, 2021

The Complex Truth About ‘Junk DNA’

by Jake Buehler

Genomes hold immense quantities of noncoding DNA. Some of it is essential for life, some seems useless, and some has its own agenda.

Read more at WIRED

Behind the headlines

Research findings and data from the National Library of Medicine

PubMed articles

Essays Biochem JANUARY 1, 2013

Role of small nuclear RNAs in eukaryotic gene expression

S Valadkhan et al

Eukaryotic cells contain small, highly abundant, nuclear-localized non-coding RNAs [snRNAs (small nuclear RNAs)] which play important roles in splicing of introns from pr …

Cell MARCH 22, 2018

Metazoan MicroRNAs

DP Bartel

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ∼22 nt RNAs that direct posttranscriptional repression of mRNA targets in diverse eukaryotic lineages. In humans and other mammals, these small RNA …

Science OCTOBER 29, 1999

A species of small antisense RNA in posttranscriptional gene silencing in plants

AJ Hamilton et al

Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) is a nucleotide sequence-specific defense mechanism that can target both cellular and viral mRNAs. Here, three types of transgen …

Dev Cell MARCH 27, 2017

miR-219 Cooperates with miR-338 in Myelination and Promotes Myelin Repair in the CNS

H Wang et al

A lack of sufficient oligodendrocyte myelination contributes to remyelination failure in demyelinating disorders. miRNAs have been implicated in oligodendrogenesis; howev …


Dual regulation of HMGB1 by combined JNK1/2-ATF2 axis with miR-200 family in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in mice

X Chen et al

In the context of diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, the inflammatory signaling has critical roles in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) …

Genome Biol NOVEMBER 19, 2018

Ten things you should know about transposable elements

G Bourque et al

Transposable elements (TEs) are major components of eukaryotic genomes. However, the extent of their impact on genome evolution, function, and disease remain a matter of …

Mob DNA AUGUST 11, 2016

Restricting retrotransposons: a review

JL Goodier

Retrotransposons have generated about 40 % of the human genome. This review examines the strategies the cell has evolved to coexist with these genomic "parasites", focuss …

Annu Rev Genet JANUARY 1, 2007

DNA transposons and the evolution of eukaryotic genomes

C Feschotte et al

Transposable elements are mobile genetic units that exhibit broad diversity in their structure and transposition mechanisms. Transposable elements occupy a large fraction …

Nature JANUARY 1, 2019

Introns are mediators of cell response to starvation

J Parenteau et al

Introns are ubiquitous features of all eukaryotic cells. Introns need to be removed from nascent messenger RNA through the process of splicing to produce functional prote …

Nature JANUARY 1, 2019

Excised linear introns regulate growth in yeast

JT Morgan et al

Spliceosomal introns are ubiquitous non-coding RNAs that are typically destined for rapid debranching and degradation. Here we describe 34 excised introns in Saccharomyce …

Cell JUNE 29, 2017

Approaching TERRA Firma: Genomic Functions of Telomeric Noncoding RNA

CM Roake et al

Functions of the telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA), the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) transcribed from telomeres, have eluded researchers. In this issue of Cell, Graf …

Comp Funct Genomics JANUARY 1, 2012


Y Tutar

Pseudogenes are ubiquitous and abundant in genomes. Pseudogenes were once called "genomic fossils" and treated as "junk DNA" several years. Nevertheless, it has been reco …

Nature JUNE 24, 2010

A coding-independent function of gene and pseudogene mRNAs regulates tumour biology

L Poliseno et al

The canonical role of messenger RNA (mRNA) is to deliver protein-coding information to sites of protein synthesis. However, given that microRNAs bind to RNAs, we hypothes …

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses NOVEMBER 20, 1999

Phylogeny of a novel family of human endogenous retrovirus sequences, HERV-W, in humans and other primates

C Voisset et al

A novel human endogenous retrovirus, HERV-W, has been characterized on the basis of multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus (MSRV) probes. We have analyzed the phylogene …

PLoS Genet MAY 8, 2014

The case for junk DNA

AF Palazzo et al
Genome Biol Evol JULY 1, 2017

An Upper Limit on the Functional Fraction of the Human Genome

D Graur

For the human population to maintain a constant size from generation to generation, an increase in fertility must compensate for the reduction in the mean fitness of the …

Nat Commun JULY 13, 2021

DNA transposons mediate duplications via transposition-independent and -dependent mechanisms in metazoans

S Tan et al

Despite long being considered as "junk", transposable elements (TEs) are now accepted as catalysts of evolution. One example is Mutator-like elements (MULEs, one type of …

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