Small RNAs: classification, biogenesis, and function

Mol Cells. 2005 Feb 28;19(1):1-15.


Eukaryotes produce various types of small RNAs of 19-28 nt in length. With rapidly increasing numbers of small RNAs listed in recent years, we have come to realize how widespread their functions are and how diverse the biogenesis pathways have evolved. At the same time, we are beginning to grasp the common features and rules governing the key steps in small RNA pathways. In this review, I will summarize the current classification, biogenesis, action mechanism and function of these fascinating molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / classification
  • MicroRNAs* / physiology
  • Plants / genetics
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering* / classification
  • RNA, Small Interfering* / physiology
  • RNA, Untranslated* / classification
  • RNA, Untranslated* / physiology
  • Ribonuclease III / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease III / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • DROSHA protein, human
  • Ribonuclease III
  • drsh-1 protein, C elegans