Scientists discover new class of RNA

Posted on January 13, 2007  Comments (2)

Scientists discover new class of RNA

These new RNAs are named after their distinctive features: Each molecule contains 21 chemical building blocks (or nucleotides), and each begins with the chemical uridine, represented by the letter U (the only RNA nucleotide not also found on DNA). In addition, each of the 5,000 different 21U-RNA molecules comes from one of two chromosomal regions.

Further, “we can predict where additional 21U-RNA genes might reside,” says Bartel, who is also a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Combining these predictions with the 5,000 (21U-RNAs) that we experimentally identified, we suspect that there are more than 12,000 different 21U-RNA genes in the genome.” Because each gene typically produces a unique 21U-RNA, a very large diversity of molecules is made.

RNA description from the Nobel Prize site:

When an organism needs to use the data stored in the genome, e.g. to build components of a new cell, a copy of the required DNA part is made. This copy is called RNA and is almost identical to DNA. Just like DNA, RNA is an abbreviated form of a chemical name which in the case of RNA is ribonucleic acid. Unlike the double stranded DNA, RNA is only made up of a single strand. Furthermore, the base T, thymine, is replaced by U, uracil in RNA. This RNA string is used by the organism as a template when it builds protein molecules, sometimes called the building blocks of the body. For example, your muscles and hair are mostly made up of proteins.

Related: DNA-RNA-Protein Introduction

2 Responses to “Scientists discover new class of RNA”

  1. CuriousCat: Genome of One Species Discovered Inside Another Species
    September 13th, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

    […] Scientists at the University of Rochester and the J. Craig Venter Institute have discovered a copy of the genome of a bacterial parasite residing inside the genome of its host species. […]

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » MicroRNAs Emerged Early in Evolution
    October 2nd, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

    “The ability of microRNAs to silence gene expression likely evolved from a more ancient defense against viruses, bacteria, and other mobile genetic elements that can mutate host DNA…”

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