Since hundreds of human miRNAs and thousands across other species, a system of nomenclature has been adopted and names are designated to specific miRNAs before publication of their discovery. Experimentally confirmed microRNAs are given a number that is attached to the prefix mir followed by a dash eg mir-123.
The uncapitalised mir- refers to the pre-miRNA and the capitalised miR- refers to the mature form. miRNAs with similar structures bar at 1 or 2 nucleotides are annotated to show their similar structure with added lower case letter eg miR-1a and miR-1b.
It is possible for miRNAs at different loci to produce the same miRNA and these are show with additional number eg miR-1-1 and miR-1-2. Strictly speaking, microRNA nomenclature should also be preceded by the annotation for the species they are observed in eg homo sapiens = hsa-miR-xxx.
Other common miRNA species include viral v-mirNA and drosphila d-miRNA. microRNAs originating for the 3’ end or 5’ end are denoted with a -3p or 5p suffix eg. miR-142-5p, miR-142-3p
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011