The evolution of gene regulation by transcription factors and microRNAs

Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Feb;8(2):93-103. doi: 10.1038/nrg1990.


Changes in the patterns of gene expression are widely believed to underlie many of the phenotypic differences within and between species. Although much emphasis has been placed on changes in transcriptional regulation, gene expression is regulated at many levels, all of which must ultimately be studied together to obtain a complete picture of the evolution of gene expression. Here we compare the evolution of transcriptional regulation and post-transcriptional regulation that is mediated by microRNAs, a large class of small, non-coding RNAs in plants and animals, focusing on the evolution of the individual regulators and their binding sites. As an initial step towards integrating these mechanisms into a unified framework, we propose a simple model that describes the transcriptional regulation of new microRNA genes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcription Factors