2013.9.24 Evolutionary analysis of microRNA regulatory networks at different time scales
Jian Lu, Ph.D.
Principal investigator, College of Life Sciences, Peking University
Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate expression of target genes at the post-transcriptional level. A microRNA can target more than 100 genes and one gene can in turn be regulated by multiple microRNAs. Given the broad interactions between microRNAs and their targets, the origin and evolution of such a system is intriguing. My research focuses on the gene regulation mediated by microRNAs as well as other small RNAs from the perspective of evolutionary biology.
In this talk, I will first illustrate the birth and death process of microRNAs by showing that most newly emerged microRNAs are evolutionarily transient. Next I will discuss the impacts of microRNA targeting on natural variation in human gene expression. Then I will talk about the relation between aberrant regulation of microRNAs and cancer. Finally, I will briefly describe my research on population genomics of piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), another class of small RNAs.