Specialization and evolution of endogenous small RNA pathways

Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Nov;8(11):884-96. doi: 10.1038/nrg2179.


The specificity of RNA silencing is conferred by small RNA guides that are processed from structured RNA or dsRNA. The core components for small RNA biogenesis and effector functions have proliferated and specialized in eukaryotic lineages, resulting in diversified pathways that control expression of endogenous and exogenous genes, invasive elements and viruses, and repeated sequences. Deployment of small RNA pathways for spatiotemporal regulation of the transcriptome has shaped the evolution of eukaryotic genomes and contributed to the complexity of multicellular organisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Plants / genetics
  • RNA Interference / physiology
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Interfering