Canalization of development by microRNAs

Nat Genet. 2006 Jun;38 Suppl:S20-4. doi: 10.1038/ng1803.


Animal development is an extremely robust process resulting in stereotyped outcomes. Canalization is a design principle wherein developmental pathways are stabilized to increase phenotypic reproducibility. Recent revelations into microRNA (miRNA) function suggest that miRNAs act as key players in canalizing genetic programs. We suggest that miRNA interactions with the network of protein-coding genes evolved to buffer stochastic perturbations and thereby confer robustness to developmental genetic programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger