Hiding in plain sight: Rediscovering the importance of noncoding RNA in human malignancy

Academic Article


  • At the time of its construction in the 1950s, the central dogma of molecular biology was a useful model that represented the current state of knowledge for the flow of genetic information after a period of prolific scientific discovery. Unknowingly, it also biased many of our assumptions going forward. Whether intentional or not, genomic elements not fitting into this paradigm were deemed unimportant and emphasis on the study of protein-coding genes prevailed for decades. The phrase "Junk DNA," first popularized in the 1960s, is still used with alarming frequency to describe the entirety of noncoding DNA. It has since become apparent that RNA molecules not coding for protein are vitally important in both normal development and human malignancy. Cancer researchers have been pioneers in determining noncoding RNA function and developing new technologies to study these molecules. In this review, we will discuss well known and newly emerging species of noncoding RNAs, their functions in cancer, and new technologies being utilized to understand their mechanisms of action in cancer.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Feeley KP; Edmonds MD
  • Start Page

  • 2149
  • End Page

  • 2158
  • Volume

  • 78
  • Issue

  • 9