Review Article MicroRNAs: their discovery, biogenesis, function and potential use as biomarkers in non-invasive prenatal diagnostics
Michael R. Ladomery, Deborah G. Maddocks, Ian D. Wilson
Centre for Research in Bioscience, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Received April 15, 2011; accepted July 29, 2011; Epub August 3, 2011; published August 30, 2011
Abstract: MicroRNAs are a widespread class of small non-coding RNAs that have the ability to silence gene expression through sequence complementarity. We describe their initial discovery in the nematode C.elegans and review what is currently known about their biogenesis. We do not yet fully understand what regulates the expression and processing of microRNAs and how microRNAs locate their correct targets. MicroRNAs are involved in a multitude of developmental and pathological processes leading to an explosion of research in disparate subject areas. Placentally expressed microRNAs can be detected in the maternal plasma and we discuss their potential use as biomarkers in non-invasive prenatal diagnostics. (IJMEG1103004).
Address all correspondence to: Dr. Michael R. Ladomery Centre for Research in Bioscience Faculty of Health and Life Sciences University of the West of England Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK E-mail: Michael.Ladomery@uwe.ac.uk