Evolution of plant microRNAs and their targets

Michael J. Axtell, John L. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

325 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a specialized class of small silencing RNAs that regulate gene expression. They have a limited phylogenetic distribution among eukaryotes, suggestive of at least two independent origins from an ancestral small RNA-producing pathway. A set of 21 abundantly expressed miRNAs are clearly conserved among the angiosperms; many of these function to regulate transcription factors involved in developmental control. Recent experiments have uncovered a much larger set of weakly expressed, less conserved miRNAs in plants, and this group has provided insights into the origins of miRNAs and their targets. These data have provided a coherent set of hypotheses explaining the birth, selection and death of miRNAs in land plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-349
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of plant microRNAs and their targets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this