An approach for the identification of microRNA with an application to Anopheles gambiae
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of 20-27 nt long noncoding RNAs, involved in post-transcriptional regulation of genes in eukaryotes. These miRNAs are usually highly conserved between the genomes of related organisms and their pre-miRNA transcript, about 60-120 nt long, forms extended stem-loop structure. Keeping these facts in mind miRsearch is developed which relies on searching the homologues of all known miRNAs of one organism in the genome of a related organism allowing few mismatches depending on the phylogenetic distance between them, followed by assessing for the capability of formation of stem-loop structure. The precursor sequences so obtained were then screened through the RNA folding program MFOLD selecting the cut-off values on the basis of known Drosophila melanogaster pre-miRNAs. With this approach, about 91 probable candidate miRNAs along with pre-miRNAs were identified in Anopheles gambiae using known D. melanogaster miRNAs. Out of these, 41 probable miRNAs have 100% similarity with already known D. melanogaster miRNAs and others were found to be at least 85% similar to the miRNAs of various other organisms.
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