Lost in translation: an assessment and perspective for computational microRNA target identification

Bioinformatics. 2009 Dec 1;25(23):3049-55. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btp565. Epub 2009 Sep 29.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short endogenously expressed RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by binding directly to the messenger RNA of protein coding genes. They have been found to confer a novel layer of genetic regulation in a wide range of biological processes. Computational miRNA target prediction remains one of the key means used to decipher the role of miRNAs in development and disease. Here we introduce the basic idea behind the experimental identification of miRNA targets and present some of the most widely used computational miRNA target identification programs. The review includes an assessment of the prediction quality of these programs and their combinations.

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Proteins