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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

RNA’s Secret Life Outside the Cell

•, By Wynne Parry
 The reasons for these molecular voyages have remained mysterious, but in recent years evidence has accrued that this extracellular RNA may have a different job, at least in some organisms.
RNA, best known to basic biology students for its role in translating genes into proteins, has turned out to be a surprisingly versatile and cosmopolitan molecule. Plants, roundworms, flatworms and insects use RNA to carry signals through their tissues, and perhaps further. Inspired by laboratory studies hinting that RNA may play a role in interactions between organisms, and even different species, Eric Miska, a molecular geneticist at the University of Cambridge, coined the term “social RNA” to describe the molecule’s apparent role in communication both inside and outside organisms.

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