This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Plant RNAs Found in Mammals

MicroRNAs from plants accumulate in mammalian blood and tissues, where they can regulate gene expression.

MicroRNAs from common plant crops such as rice and cabbage can be found in the blood and tissues of humans and other plant-eating mammals, according to a study published today in Cell Research. One microRNA in particular, MIR168a, which is highly enriched in rice, was found to inhibit a protein that helps removes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood, suggesting that microRNAs can influence gene expression across kingdoms.

“This is a very exciting piece of work that suggests that the food we eat may directly regulate gene expression in our bodies,” said Clay Marsh, Director of the Center for Personalized Health Care at the Ohio State University College of Medicine who researches microRNA expression in human blood but who was not involved in the study.

MicroRNAs are, as the name implies, very short RNA sequences (approximately 22 nucleotides in length) discovered in the early 1990s. They are known to modulate gene expression by binding to mRNA, often resulting in inhibition. With the recent discovery that microRNAs circulate the blood by hitching a ride in small membrane-encased particles known as microvesicles (see our July 2011 feature on microvesicles, “Exosome Explosion”), there has been a surge of interest in microRNAs as a novel class of biomarkers for a variety of diseases.

Read more

TAGGED: GENETICS


RELATED CONTENT

Blogging the Human Genome

Sam Kean - Slate Comments

Blogging the Human Genome

Scientists place 500-million-year-old...

- - PhysOrg.com Comments

Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Q&A: Plant scientists answer your...

- - Sense About Science 6 Comments

Welcome to this questions and answer session on cross fertilisation, which has also been called contamination, with Wendy harwood and Huw Jones.

Open letter and video re threat to GM...

Rothamsted Research - YouTube/Sense... 79 Comments

Add your support to the appeal from scientists at the publicly funded Rothamsted Research: Don't Destroy Our Research.

Finding Phenotypes

Edyta Zielinska - TheScientist 7 Comments

Genes shared across species that produce different phenotypes—deafness in humans and directional growth in plants—may reveal new models of disease.

Synthetic Genetic Evolution

Ruth Williams - TheScientist 9 Comments


Synthetic Genetic Evolution

MORE

MORE BY CRISTINA LUIGGI

New Genes, New Brain

Cristina Luiggi - TheScientist 6 Comments

The evolution of the human brain may have been driven by a group of novel
genes that arose fairly recently in primate evolution.

Religion and Disease

Cristina Luiggi - The Scientist 17 Comments

Deadly epidemics can have a profound impact on people’s choice of religion.

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment