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The evolutionary dynamics of microRNAs in domestic mammals

Scientists at the Earlham Institute (EI) in the UK have been looking into microRNAs (miRNAs) and the role these "genetic orchestra conductors" may play in the evolution of gene regulation. Recently, their research has focused on the miRNAs of five domestic mammal species (cows, dogs, horses, pigs, and rabbits) and compared these species' miRNAs to a dataset of annotated miRNAs to identify which miRNAs had evolved more recently and are present in only a few species rather than across all mammals. The researchers found that many of the more recently evolved miRNAs "appear to be specific to either the cow or the dog" and that there may be "an involvement of these miRNAs in the domestication process." Here, those interested may read the scientific article resulting from EI's research, which was published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports in November 2018. EI (formerly known as the Genome Analysis Centre) is a life science research institute that uses "computational science and biotechnology to answer ambitious biological questions and generate enabling resources." This research was led by Luca Penso-Dolfin, a postdoctoral computational biologist in the Federica Di Palma Group at the Earlham Institute.
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