A computational screen for novel small nucleolar RNAs in Drosophila melanogaster uncovered 15 novel snoRNAs and snoRNA-like long non-coding RNAs. In contrast to earlier surverys, the novel sequences are mostly poorly conserved and originate from unusual genomic locations. The majority derive from precurors antisense to well-known protein-coding genes, and four of the candidates are produced from exon-coding regions. Only a minority of the new sequences appears to have canonical target sites in ribosomal or small nuclear RNAs. Taken together, these evolutionary young, poorly conserved, and genomically atypical sequences point at a class of snoRNA-like transcripts with predominantly regulatory functions in the fruit fly genome.
Keywords: snoRNA, long non-coding RNA, sno-lncRNAs, Drosophila.