Micro RNA

Indian researchers recently discovered the process used by plants to make microRNA. The study involved scientists from National Centre for Biological Sciences and Thanjavur’s Sastra University.

  • Are microRNAs found only in plants?

microRNAs or miRNAs are ncRNA/ non-coding Ribonucleic Acid molecules found not only in plants, but also in humans, other animals and even some viruses.  These are small molecules that control the cell’s protein levels.

  • What is RNA silencing?

RNA silencing is the process by which non-coding RNAs negatively regulates gene expression by interference. This RNA silencing is a useful tool to study the effect of a gene in DNA. The silencing of the gene is also called ‘knocking out’ the gene.

  • What type of RNA is targeted by the microRNAs?

The microRNA functions by targeting a type of RNA called the messenger RNA or mRNA. These mRNAs are vital for production of the specific type of protein and its destruction by the miRNA will reduce the protein level in the cell.

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