Recent evidence suggests that particular species of non-coding RNAs can modulate gene transcription in human cells. While such observations were in the past relegated to imprinted genes, it is now becoming apparent that several different genes in differentiated cells may be under some form of RNA based regulatory control. Studies carried out to date have begun to discern the mechanism of action whereby non-coding RNAs modulate gene transcription by the targeted recruitment of epigenetic silencing complexes to homology containing loci in the genome. The results of these studies will be considered in detail as well as the implications that a vast array of non-coding RNA based regulatory networks may be operative in human cells.
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