Challenging the dogma: the central role of RNA in human development and cognition

Mattick, J. S. (2011). Challenging the dogma: the central role of RNA in human development and cognition. In: Special Issue: 36th FEBS Congress, Biochemistry for Tomorrow's Medicine. 36th FEBS Congress, Biochemistry for Tomorrows Medicine, Torino, Italy, (2-2). 25-30 June 2011. doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2011.08142.x


Author Mattick, J. S.
Title of paper Challenging the dogma: the central role of RNA in human development and cognition
Conference name 36th FEBS Congress, Biochemistry for Tomorrows Medicine
Conference location Torino, Italy
Conference dates 25-30 June 2011
Proceedings title Special Issue: 36th FEBS Congress, Biochemistry for Tomorrow's Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name FEBS Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Published abstract
DOI 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2011.08142.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
ISSN 1742-4658
1742-464X
Volume 278
Issue Supp. 1
Start page 2
End page 2
Total pages 1
Language eng
Abstract/Summary It appears that the genetic programming of humans and other complex organisms has been misunderstood for the past 50 years, because of the assumption that most genetic information is transacted by proteins. However, the human genome contains only about 20,000 protein-coding genes, similar in number and with largely orthologous functions as those in nematodes that have only 1000 cells. On the other hand, the extent of non-proteincoding DNA increases with increasing complexity, reaching 98.8% in humans. The majority of these sequences are dynamically transcribed, mainly into long and short non-protein-coding RNAs, of which there are tens if not hundreds of thousands that show specific expression patterns and subcellular locations. These include not only miRNAs, but also new classes of small RNAs derived from transcription initiation sites and splice sites, and unexpected new classes of long ncRNAs derived from post-transcriptional processing of mRNAs. The emerging evidence indicates that these RNAs form a massive hidden network of regulatory information to control gene expression at various levels, including the site-specificity of the chromatin-modifying complexes that underpin developmental trajectories and cognitive function, and that these regulatory RNAs are dysregulated in cancer and other complex diseases. It is also becoming evident that animals, particularly primates, have superimposed plasticity on these RNA regulatory systems via RNA editing, and that this is the molecular basis of the environment-epigenome interactions that underpin brain function and complex diseases. Retrotransposons also appear to contribute to genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic plasticity and somatic mosaicism, especially in the brain. Thus, it appears that most assumptions about the nature and structure of regulatory information have been incorrect, and that what was dismissed as ‘‘junk’’ because it was not understood will hold the key to understanding human evolution, development, diversity and cognitive capacity, with revolutionary implications for science, medicine and biotechnology.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 1 JUL 2011 Published under Plenary Lectures: Special Issue: 36th FEBS Congress, Biochemistry for Tomorrow's Medicine

Document type: Conference Paper
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