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News-in-brief / 06.10.15

Study examines role of lncRNAs in the brain

By Broad Communications

To investigate the role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in brain development, a team led by John Rinn and Paola Arlotta of the Broad Institute and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Harvard’s Giulio Tomassy, analyzed the expression of lncRNAs in the developing and adult brain using lncRNA-knockout mouse models. The resulting map of gene expression revealed surprising spatial temporal patterns where a lncRNA is expressed embryonically but not in adult brains and vice-versa. The researchers also found that about 25 percent of lncRNA deletions resulted in a “cis-like” regulatory role on local gene expression. The study, which appears in PNAS, suggests several avenues for future studies on these molecules in brain development and physiology.