AUG 21, 2013 03:00 PM PDT

Evolution of Alu elements in long non-coding RNA and mRNA

  • Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Program Chair for the Bioinformatics Program, Instructor in the Rabb School of Continuing Studies, Division of Graduate
      Daniel Caffrey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMASS Medical School. He is also the Program Chair of Bioinformatics at Brandies University. He received his Ph.D from Trinity College Dublin where he studied the evolution and function of the MAP kinase pathways. He completed his postdoctoral training at Pfizer before spending several years there as a Computational Biologist. His current research interests include genome evolution and host-pathogen interactions.


    Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) are a novel class of RNA molecule that are emerging as important regulators of gene transcription and post-transcriptional events. lncRNAs have been shown to regulate a broad variety of biological processes and are often located within regions of the genome that are associated with various diseases. Repetitive elements are a major component of lncRNA and their molecular functions in lncRNA are poorly understood. Here, I describe the evolution of Alu elements in lncRNA and mRNA. Alu elements are the most abundant transposable element in the human genome (more than 1 million copies) and their composition and evolution within lncRNA and mRNA differ significantly. These striking differences are correlated with their expression and suggest a common molecular function in lncRNA and mRNA.

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