Long Noncoding RNA and Epigenomics

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Abstract

Accumulating evidence over the last decade has presented us with the intriguing observation that the majority of eukaryotic genomes are pervasively transcribed to encode a complex network of small and long noncoding RNAs. Long noncoding RNAs are of particular interest, as they were once thought to be restricted to housekeeping functions and are now linked to a wide variety of biological functions related to physiology, embryology and development. Emerging evidence indicates that a subset of long noncoding RNAs mediate their biological functions by using chromatin as a substrate, to index the genetic information encoded in the genome. This chapter will discuss how noncoding RNAs and the processes underlying their transcription mediate transcriptional regulation, by epigenetically regulating the structure of chromatin in various biological contexts.