Curiously Circular RNA

by Gerald Zon –

  • Circular RNA (circRNA) Formation Serendipitously Discovered in 1991  
  • Next-Generation Sequencing Reveals circRNA to be Ubiquitous
  • circRNA can Function as MicroRNA ‘Sponges’ to Regulate Gene Expression

There’s something seductively simple—and curious—about circles, which are unique in having no beginning or end, unlike most other things. On a less philosophical plane, thinking about circles conjures up incongruent memories of delicious doughnuts and geometric definitions from my youthful days going to the neighborhood bakery and diligently taking notes in my high school geometry class, respectively.

donuts

Having said this, you might now appreciate why I was immediately captivated when I recently read about the existence of circular RNA (circRNA). More importantly, I was immediately puzzled over why Mother Nature would want RNA to evolve in this way, when virtually all other eukaryotic RNA (and DNA) is linear?

I decided to research curiously circRNA to learn the answer to this puzzlement, and in so doing found a wealth of interesting molecular biology, much of which was blogworthy. For lack of space here I’ve selected and made into snippets some of these finds that were most interesting—at least to me.

(read more…)

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