Researchers around the globe are working on turning microRNAs, over 5,000 of which already have been identified, into novel drugs for a wide range of applications, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). These noncoding single-stranded RNAs act through binding to complementary mRNA sequences, thus preventing their translation into protein or accelerating mRNA breakdown, according to the March 15 issue of GEN.

“MicroRNAs play an important role in various cellular processes, including cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis,” says John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief of GEN. “As a result, scientists are studying them as potential therapeutics for a number of disease, particularly cancer.”

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