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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science