A discovery of novel microRNAs in the silkworm (Bombyx mori) genome

Genomics. 2009 Dec;94(6):438-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2009.08.007. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are pivotal regulators involved in various physiological and pathological processes via their post-transcriptional regulation of gene expressions. We sequenced 14 libraries of small RNAs constructed from samples spanning the life cycle of silkworms, and discovered 50 novel miRNAs previously not known in animals and verified 43 of them using stem-loop RT-PCR. Our genome-wide analyses of 27 species-specific miRNAs suggest they arise from transposable elements, protein-coding genes duplication/transposition and random foldback sequences; which is consistent with the idea that novel animal miRNAs may evolve from incomplete self-complementary transcripts and become fixed in the process of co-adaptation with their targets. Computational prediction suggests that the silkworm-specific miRNAs may have a preference of regulating genes that are related to life-cycle-associated traits, and these genes can serve as potential targets for subsequent studies of the modulating networks in the development of Bombyx mori.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bombyx / genetics*
  • Bombyx / growth & development
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Insect Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Species Specificity


  • Insect Proteins
  • MicroRNAs