Small RNAs are pivotal regulators of gene expression that guide transcriptional and post-transcriptional silencing mechanisms in eukaryotes, including plants. Here a team led by researchers at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico report a comprehensive atlas of sRNA and miRNA from 3 species of algae and 31 representative species across vascular plants, including non-model plants. They sequence and quantify sRNAs from 99 different tissues or treatments across species, resulting in a data set of over 132 million distinct sequences. Using miRBase mature sequences as a reference, they identify the miRNA sequences present in these libraries. The researchers apply diverse profiling methods to examine critical sRNA and miRNA features, such as size distribution, tissue-specific regulation and sequence conservation between species, as well as to predict putative new miRNA sequences.
The authors have developed database resources, computational analysis tools and a dedicated website which can be accessed at: http://smallrna.udel.edu/