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Genomics 2008 Feb 01;912:158-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2007.10.013.
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Testis-derived microRNA profiles of African clawed frogs (Xenopus) and their sterile hybrids.

Michalak P , Malone JH .

Gene regulation was long predicted to play a vital role in speciation and species divergence. Only recently with the advent of new technologies, however, has it been possible to address the question of the relative contributions of different mechanisms of gene expression to the evolution of phenotypic diversity. Here we broaden the question and ask whether microRNAs, a large class of small regulatory RNAs, play a role in reproductive isolation between species by contributing to hybrid male sterility. MicroRNAs from the testes of clawed frogs (Xenopus) were extracted and the expression profiles of sterile hybrids were compared with males of a parental species. Hybrid testes were largely microRNA-depleted relative to those of nonhybrids, and this pattern was validated with quantitative RT-PCR. A number of candidate differential microRNAs from this study have previously been described as testis-specific in the mouse, suggesting that microRNA structural conservation may be associated with functional retention.

PubMed ID: 18079091
Article link: Genomics