Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Small RNAs

Class of short RNA molecules of 21-28 nucleotides that have inhibition and tagging roles related to routine epigenetic cellular housekeeping. Inhibition, aka RNA interference (RNAi), results in gene silencing, and seems to involve small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) seem to inhibit translation of RNA into protein. The source of small RNAs seems to be degradation of larger RNA molecules with completely different functions, facilitated by an enzyme called DICER and an enzyme complex called RISC.

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