News of the WeekThe Biology of Genomes, 5–9 May 2009, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Some RNA May Play Key Role in Repressing Genes, Slowing Cancer

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Science  05 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5932, pp. 1252-1253
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1252b

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More than three-quarters of protein-coding genes lead not to DNA but to RNA strands of various lengths—but toward what end has been a mystery, because that RNA doesn't seem to lead to any proteins. Some experts have even argued that this RNA is little more than "transcriptional noise." Yet, just as junk DNA proved to be more than junk, at least some of this "noise" translates into meaningful molecules that may play key roles in turning genes on and off, scientists reported at the Biology of Genomes meeting, held 5 to 9 May at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.