Here, we discuss the roles that microRNAs play in providing canalization to animal development, citing recent theoretical and experimental. Abstract: Animal development is an extremely robust process resulting in stereotyped outcomes. Canalization is a design principle wherein developmental . Canalization refers to the process by which phenotypes are stabilized within . Many miRNAs play a role in critical steps of animal development (Carrington and .

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VenkateshChetan J. Instead, they might gain an advantage in homeostasis by reducing the variances in gene expression. In terms of expression tuning, TFs may play a dominant role, setting the mean level of expression.

A straightforward test for the expression-buffering hypothesis is to change the level of miRNAs and observe the consequences on whole-genome expression. However, in the absence of the heat shock protein HSP90, many abnormalities were observed.

Note that there is no correlation at all between the expression level of miRNAs and their predicted targets, in contrast to the prediction of the simple repression motif. In such a model, the more highly expressed miRNAs are, then, on average, the less abundant their target transcripts should be. Interestingly, the responses of the predicted target genes of Dms Fig. As the buffering mechanism may work equally well around various means, these two functions are somewhat independent, and, hence, not mutually exclusive.

Thus, in animals, each miRNA may have anywhere between 20 and target genes and many genes are simultaneously the targets of more than one miRNA Grun et al.


The rate of evolutionary change in response to selection is proportional to the heritability, not V g. An analogy for the role of miRNAs in gene expression may be a rheostat or a dimmer, as opposed to a switch Bartel and Chen Defelopment 4A and B show the conservation of the first 8 bp referred to as the core and all 18 bp, respectively. There are many studies that perturb whole-genome expression Farh et al.

The two functions correspond quite canaliztion to the circuitry classification of Tsang et al. Developmental stability and evolution.

EBSCOhost | | Canalization of development by microRNAs.

The hsp90 gene was suggested to be a canalizing gene but see Bergman and Siegal [] and Hermisson and Wagner [] for discussions on the connection between canalization and cryptic genetic variation.

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In this window In a new window. The fluctuation in miR is thus dampened and its effect on the Nodal pathway, which controls mesendoderm formation, would be robust. While the lack of conservation in miRNA—target coupling seems puzzling under the tuning hypothesis, specific miRNA—target interactions are not expected to be highly conserved bj the buffering hypothesis.

New miRNAs, in the process of becoming integrated into the genome, may have to minimize the disruption to the transcriptome while providing some benefits. B Changes in the expression of the predicted targets between miRs transgenic lines and the wild-type line. A complementary approach to the problem of cajalization functions is to analyze the features of network wirings involving miRNAs.


Many studies von Dassow et al. Although this is a lethal condition, it is deveolpment to assay gene expression in cell clones homozygous for the Dicer-1 deletion. In the study of Rybak et al. We suggest that miRNA interactions with the network of protein-coding genes evolved to buffer stochastic perturbations and thereby confer robustness to developmental genetic programs.

One more motif in the tuning mode is shown in Figure 1C.

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For control, mutant forms of the transgenic miRNAs would have to be used. CrossRef Medline Google Scholar.

In this sense, the action of miRNAs canalizaation the genetic effect driving species and racial differentiation see Wu and Palopoli ; Wu and Ting Within the limited range of environmental perturbations in most experiments, canalization may not be particularly important, but, in the evolutionary timescale, it may be crucial.

By bioinformatic analysis, Tsang et al.

Points of the lighter shade represent significantly misregulated genes. In this view, newly emerged miRNAs would contribute to expression buffering initially without exerting a significant effect on the mean level of gene expression.

In a series of studies by Edwin Wang and colleagues Wangthe authors noted that miRNAs are preferentially wired to positively regulated motifs, highly connected scaffolds, and downstream components of signaling pathways including transcription factors.