, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 645-653

Current strategies for microRNA research

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Abstract

The short ribonucleic acid molecules (20–24 nucleotides) known as microRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that disrupt translation or degrade target mRNAs posttranscriptionally in a sequence-specific manner, and the miRNA may not be completely complementary to its targets. This class of RNAs is thought to be functionally important because many individual miRNAs are evolutionally conserved across widely diverse phyla. Further, miRNAs are associated with diverse biological phenomena, such as cell growth, apoptosis, development, differentiation, cancer, and arthritis. MicroRNA research is one of a number of rapidly evolving fields of basic and biomedical science, with many new techniques being developed. However, miRNA experiments require modifications of preexisting molecular techniques or specialized methods, given the difficulties stemming from their small size. In this review, we summarize current in-silico and biochemical strategies for miRNA research to outline the current status of the research techniques now being employed to find a new direction in the field.