We used massively parallel sequencing to compare the microRNA (miRNA) content of human and chimpanzee brains, and we identified 447 new miRNA genes. Many of the new miRNAs are not conserved beyond primates, indicating their recent origin, and some miRNAs seem species specific, whereas others are expanded in one species through duplication events. These data suggest that evolution of miRNAs is an ongoing process and that along with ancient, highly conserved miRNAs, there are a number of emerging miRNAs.
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We thank the various genome sequencing consortia (see Supplementary Methods for full references) for sharing sequence information through Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org) before publication and thank C. Reijmer (Vrelinghuis, Medical Center Biltstraat, Utrecht) for providing tissue material. This work was supported by grants from the Horizon (E.B.) and BioRange (E.C.) programs of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, and a TOP grant (R.H.A.P.) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
F.T. is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vertis Biotechnologie AG. Publication of this work may result in an increase in the level of awareness of its services for cloning and analysis of microRNAs.
E.B., E.C. and R.P. are the inventors on a patent application that includes novel miRNA sequences described in this manuscript. This publication may affect the value of this patent.
Distribution of read densities across the chimpanzee genome. (PDF 140 kb)
Strand distribution for repeat-derived reads. (PDF 84 kb)
Sequences of novel human and chimpanzee miRNAs. (PDF 279 kb)
miRNA families containing novel miRNAs (PDF 64 kb)
Clusters containing novel human and chimpanzee miRNAs. (PDF 139 kb)
miRNAs duplicated in human or chimpanzee genomes. (PDF 99 kb)
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Berezikov, E., Thuemmler, F., van Laake, L. et al. Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain. Nat Genet 38, 1375–1377 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng1914
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