Published on April 17, 2012 at 4:18 AM
MicroRNAs reside in a part of the genome known as "junk DNA"-because the scientific community once thought vast swaths of DNA in the human genome contained no genes. But since the human genome was decoded at the turn of this century, that view has crumbled.
Even though this "junk DNA" does not code for genes, it makes a rich number of microRNAs. All organisms on earth, from fruit flies to Fillmore Street musicians, have a large number of these microRNAs in their junk DNA.
Scientists around the world are now studying the roles these microRNA may play in the biology of human diseases, McManus said. Much of this work involves tinkering with microRNAs in cells grown in the laboratory, he added, but the ultimate way to study them is to knock them out in an organism like the mouse or the fruit fly. That's why he and his colleagues created the new resource.
Source: University of California - San Francisco