New research tool targets microRNA expression in zebrafish

March 17, 2011

A new research tool for studying microRNA expression in zebrafish will help researchers study the effects of miRNA on the early development of this model organism and better understand developmental and disease mechanisms in humans, as described in Zebrafish, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Researchers from University of Oregon (Eugene) have developed a novel, cost-effective method for measuring the expression of microRNAs (miRNA) in specific tissues in developing embryos. miRNAs play an important role in regulating . They are difficult to detect because they are very short strands of oligonucleotide and are often present in cells at low levels. Xinjun He, Yi-Lin Yan, April DeLaurier, and John Postlethwait describe the efficient technique they devised using digoxigenin-labeled riboprobes (oligonucleotide-based probe sequences capable of binding to a complementary miRNA sequence) in in situ hybridization (ISH) experiments. Their work is presented in the article, "Observation of miRNA in Zebrafish by In Situ Hybridization to MicroRNA Primary Transcripts."

"This is a terrific new addition to the zebrafish toolbox, opening the door to an array of new experiments focused on the biology of non-coding RNAs using this superb model system," says Stephen Ekker, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Zebrafish and Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Explore further: Microbiotic technology developed for microinjection of zebrafish embryos

More information: The article is available free online ahead of print.

Related Stories

GEN reports on therapeutic potential of microRNA

March 19, 2010

Researchers around the globe are working on turning microRNAs, over 5,000 of which already have been identified, into novel drugs for a wide range of applications, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). These ...

MicroRNA undermines tumor suppression

March 17, 2009

A small piece of RNA, or microRNA (miRNA), ratchets down the activity of the tumor-suppressor gene p53, according to a study by Whitehead Institute and National University of Singapore researchers.

Zebrafish: It's not your parents' lab rat

July 30, 2007

Zebrafish cost about a dollar at the pet store. They grow from eggs to hunting their own food in three days. Adults can lay up to 500 eggs at once… and you have more in common with them than you think.

Recommended for you

Study shows how giraffe assassin bugs outwit spider prey

October 26, 2016

(—A biologist at Macquarie University in Australia has discovered the secret behind the giraffe assassin's ability to catch and kill spiders in their webs. In his paper published on the open access site Royal Society ...

New analysis of big data sheds light on cell functions

October 26, 2016

Researchers have developed a new way of obtaining useful information from big data in biology to better understand—and predict—what goes on inside a cell. Using genome-scale models, researchers were able to integrate ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.