Biased hosting of intronic microRNA genes

David Golan, Carmit Levy, Brad Friedman, Noam Shomron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivation: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in an abundant class of post-transcriptional regulation activated through binding to the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of mRNAs. The current wealth of mammalian miRNA genes results mostly from genomic duplication events. Many of these events are located within introns of transcriptional units. In order to better understand the genomic expansion of miRNA genes, we investigated the distribution of intronic miRNAs. Results: We observe that miRNA genes are hosted within introns of short genes much larger than expected by chance. Implementation: We explore several explanations for this phenomenon and conclude that miRNA integration into short genes might be evolutionary favorable due to interaction with the pre-mRNA splicing mechanism. Contact: Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbtq077
Pages (from-to)992-995
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - 24 Feb 2010


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