DNA replication and models for the origin of piRNAs

Bioessays. 2007 Apr;29(4):382-5. doi: 10.1002/bies.20557.


The piRNA class of small RNAs are distinct from other small RNAs by their approximately 26-31 nucleotide size, single-strandedness and strand-specificity as well as by the clustered arrangement of their origins. Here, we highlight how these features are reminiscent of the mechanisms of DNA replication, and then present three models suggesting that the origin of piRNAs may be mechanistically similar to key processes in DNA replication.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • RNA / biosynthesis*
  • RNA / genetics*


  • RNA