Results of Innovative Research in Genomics and Biomedicine published recently in the prestigious international scientific journal «Scientific Reports» might challenge various studies in the field of Biology and Medicine.
Led by Medical School’s Associate Professor Kyriacos Felekkis, a team of scientists from the Department of Life and Health Sciences of the University of Nicosia and the Medical Research Center of the University of Heidelberg, studied the interaction of the small RNA molecules (miRNAs), known to be involved in the regulation of gene expression, with the genes of eight different species (chicken, dog, cow, rat, mouse, monkey, chimpanzee and human).
The results of the research demonstrate that miRNA-dependent regulation of human genes, contrary to the other species studied, is absolutely necessary and very tightly regulated. Scientists believe that any deviations from this tight control might explain why some diseases appear in humans and not in other species. Further studies of this molecular mechanism might help in the understanding of the pathogenesis and therapy of various human diseases.
An even more important finding of the study is that mouse, widely used as an experimental model, might not be the most suitable species for modeling of human diseases. This is because its gene expression regulation profile is very different from that of humans. In contrast, the rat is presented as the most suitable experimental model.
“The whole issue is of extreme interest. If our results are verified they could have an overturning effect and would call into question a lot of studies in Biology and Medicine’ said Dr Felekkis.
The original article is available at http://www.nature.com/articles/srep12163