RNA-Seq Data Contributes to Major miRBase Update

The miRBase microRNA Sequence Database provides a searchable online repository for published microRNA sequences and associated annotation.  The database is updated 2 to 3 times per year based on publication of any new experimentally verified microRNA sequences.  The first version of the database was released in December of 2002 with only 218 database entries.  Monday, the database was updated to version 16 with more than 15,000 hairpin precursor sequence entries.  Many advances in RNA discovery and profiling technologies have contributed to the rapid growth of the microRNA database.  Custom microarrays have been used to verify microRNA sequences that were computationally predicted using folding algorithms and other software.  More recently, advances in RNA sequencing technology have accelerated the discovery of new microRNA sequences in both rare and model species.  In just the past year, the number of database entries for expressed, mature microRNA sequences has jumped from 10,581 to 17,341.  That’s an increase of 64% in just a year.  The latest update (to version 16) was released on September 9th and included major updates for Human and the model species, mouse and rat.  9 new species were added to the database, including 6 new plants which accounted for 460 new hairpin precursor sequences.  Since these periodic updated have been continuous now for the past several years, this suggests that there are many more as yet undiscovered microRNA sequences. (Read the entire update summary here… )