Mammalian microRNAs Derived From Genomic Repeats

Trends Genet. 2005 Jun;21(6):322-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2005.04.008.


In this article, we show that a subset of conventional mammalian microRNAs is derived from LINE-2 transposable elements and other genome repeats. These repeat-derived microRNAs arise from conventional precursor hairpins and are distinct from the rasiRNAs, which appear to be processed from long double-stranded RNA precursors. The insertion of transposable elements into new genomic sites appears to be one of the driving-forces that create new microRNAs during mammalian evolution. Two of the LINE-2-derived microRNAs exhibit perfect complementarity to a large family of mRNA and EST transcripts that contain portions of MIR and other LINE-2 elements in their 3'-untranslated regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Computational Biology
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Humans
  • Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger