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REVIEW: Quantitative Aspects of RNA Silencing in Metazoans

A. M. Sergeeva1,2, N. Pinzón Restrepo1, and H. Seitz1*

1IGH du CNRS (UPR 1142), 141 rue de la Cardonille, 34396 Montpellier, France; E-mail: herve.seitz@igh.cnrs.fr

2Current address: Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, pl. Kurchatova 2, 123182 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: asergeeva@img.ras.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received January 21, 2013
Small regulatory RNAs (microRNAs, siRNAs, and piRNAs) exhibit several unique features that clearly distinguish them from other known gene regulators. Their genomic organization, mode of action, and proposed biological functions raise specific questions. In this review, we focus on the quantitative aspect of small regulatory RNA biology. The original nature of these small RNAs accelerated the development of novel detection techniques and improved statistical methods and promoted new concepts that may unexpectedly generalize to other gene regulators. Quantification of natural phenomena is at the core of scientific practice, and the unique challenges raised by small regulatory RNAs have prompted many creative innovations by the scientific community.
KEY WORDS: small RNAs, RNA silencing, RNA interference

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297913060072