Beyond genomics: interpreting the 93% of the human genome that does not encode proteins

Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2010 May;13(3):350-8.


The traditional understanding that proteins are the only effectors of gene function has been challenged by the discovery of a group of genes that do not encode proteins (non-coding genes [ncGs]). The role of ncGs in the pathogenesis and potentially the treatment of several human diseases is increasingly being confirmed. A robust collection of literature exists to support the theory of the involvement of ncGs and their non-coding RNA (ncRNA) transcripts in the pathogenesis of cancer. This review focuses on the role of ncRNAs in human carcinogenesis and describes why deciphering the function of these RNAs might lead to the development of new anticancer drugs.

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

  • Conserved Sequence
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering