Monday, September 18, 2006
The publication of "An RNA gene expressed during cortical development evolved rapidly in humans" by Pollard et al. (Nature, PubMed) is significant for several reasons. HAR1F appears to be one of those genes under selection in humans (see "From HapMap to Selection Map," May 12, 2006). Such genes, the methods for finding them, and their roles in human development, are all important. For me, however, there is special excitement because this study points to an important role for a spliced ("mRNA like") noncoding RNA. I have long been a fan of noncoding RNAs in general. I like to emphasize that not all exons are coding (see "Things that are not Exons," June 30, 2005) and that not all non-coding RNAs are of the class that associates with the RISC complex. This result does both.