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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 137-152

Functional Perspective and Implications of Gene Expression by Noncoding RNAs

1 School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
2 Institute of Genomic Medicine, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
3 Division of Nephrology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Zhonghai Yan
Division of Nephrology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-3977.163805

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Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have gained widespread attention in recent years as a potentially new and crucial tool in biological regulation. Although they have been associated with a range of developmental processes and diseases, knowledge of the mechanisms by which they act is still surprisingly limited. To claim that almost entire mammalian genome is transcribed into functional noncoding transcripts remain controversial. Nevertheless, a small number of well executed studies on ncRNAs have given us important clues concerning the biological function of these molecules, and have successfully uncovered a few of their key functional and mechanistic themes, although the robustness of these models and classification schemes remains to be elucidated. Here, we summarize the new insights into ncRNAs field, discussing what is known about the genomic contexts, biological functions in human cancer, neural system disorders, stem cell (SC) self-renewal, and mechanisms of action of ncRNAs. Meanwhile, we have also tried to shed light on how the recent interest in ncRNAs is deeply rooted in biology's longstanding concern of the evolution and function of genomes.

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