For many years, only a small fraction of the human genome was believed to regulate cell function and development.
This protein-coding portion composed only 1% to 2% of 3 billion human DNA base pairs—the remaining sequence was classified as junk DNA.
Drs John Abraham and Stephen Meltzer from Maryland, USA review the involvement of noncoding RNAs, lncRNAs in particular, in development of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal carcinoma.
|Most of the genome is transcribed into a broad array of noncoding RNAs|
Subsequent research has revealed that most of the genome is transcribed into a broad array of noncoding RNAs, ranging in size from microRNA to long noncoding RNA.
The team reported that these noncoding RNA classes have been shown to use diverse molecular mechanisms to control gene expression and organ system development.
Dr Abraham and colleagues comment, "As anticipated, alterations in this large control system can contribute to disease pathogenesis and carcinogenesis."