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An Expanding Universe of Noncoding RNAs

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1260-1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072249

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Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have been found to have roles in a great variety of processes, including transcriptional regulation, chromosome replication, RNA processing and modification, messenger RNA stability and translation, and even protein degradation and translocation. Recent studies indicate that ncRNAs are far more abundant and important than initially imagined. These findings raise several fundamental questions: How many ncRNAs are encoded by a genome? Given the absence of a diagnostic open reading frame, how can these genes be identified? How can all the functions of ncRNAs be elucidated?

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