The Implications of ncRNAs in the Development of Human Diseases

Noncoding RNA. 2021 Feb 24;7(1):17. doi: 10.3390/ncrna7010017.


The mammalian genome comprehends a small minority of genes that encode for proteins (barely 2% of the total genome in humans) and an immense majority of genes that are transcribed into RNA but not encoded for proteins (ncRNAs). These non-coding genes are intimately related to the expression regulation of protein-coding genes. The ncRNAs subtypes differ in their size, so there are long non-coding genes (lncRNAs) and other smaller ones, like microRNAs (miRNAs) and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Due to their important role in the maintenance of cellular functioning, any deregulation of the expression profiles of these ncRNAs can dissemble in the development of different types of diseases. Among them, we can highlight some of high incidence in the population, such as cancer, neurodegenerative, or cardiovascular disorders. In addition, thanks to the enormous advances in the field of medical genomics, these same ncRNAs are starting to be used as possible drugs, approved by the FDA, as an effective treatment for diseases.

Keywords: cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases; circRNAs; lncRNAs; miRNAs in cancer; ncRNAs; piRNAs.

Publication types

  • Review