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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

IDENTIFICATION OF NEW MICRORNAS IN DUNALIELLA SALINA

Abstract

MicroRNAs are small single strand noncoding RNAS. Their main function is to regulate the expression of genes. MicroRNAs bind to their target mRNAs resulting in either the degradation of these mRNAs or the inhibition of their translation. MicroRNAs are involved in several biological processes including cell cycle control, apoptosis, stem cell differentiation, and skeletal muscle development. Some studies even show that miRNAs have been used to differentiate and maintain tissue identity. They have been identified in animals, bacteria, fungi, plants, and protists, which include algae. Dunaliella salina is a phototrophic alga that is very resistant to salt due to the production and accumulation of high concentration of beta-carotene. This accumulation protects the algae against high light intensity, glycerol, and osmotic pressure. This alga is used to produce beta-carotene for cosmetics and dietary supplements. The main goal of our research is to identify new MicroRNAs in Dunaliella salina. We are conducting this research using a bioinformatics approach. Our project involves analyzing the small RNAs that we sequenced from Dunaliella salina and then comparing these sequences to all the known miRNAs and stem loops. Being able to identify new miRNAs from Dunaliella Salina can help in our understanding of the miRNA in this species. If the same miRNA is identified in another species, then we can infer that the miRNA is present in important functions in plants and animals.

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