Identification and verification of microRNA in wheat (Triticum aestivum)
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, endogenous RNAs that regulate gene expression in both plants and animals. A large number of miRNAs has been identified from various animals and model plant species such as Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa); however, characteristics of wheat (Triticum aestivum) miRNAs are poorly understood. Here, computational identification of miRNAs from wheat EST sequences was preformed by using the in-house program GenomicSVM, a prediction model for miRNAs. This study resulted in the discovery of 79 miRNA candidates. Nine out of 22 miRNA representatives randomly selected from the 79 candidates were experimentally validated with Northern blotting, indicating that prediction accuracy is about 40%. For the 9 validated miRNAs, 59 wheat ESTs were predicted as their putative targets.