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Mirtrons are alternative precursors for microRNA biogenesis that were recently described in invertebrates. These short hairpin introns use splicing to bypass Drosha cleavage, which is otherwise essential for the generation of canonical animal microRNAs. Using computational and experimental strategies, we now establish that mammals have mirtrons as well. We(More)
We sequenced 122 miRNAs in 10 primate species to reveal conservation characteristics of miRNA genes. Strong conservation is observed in stems of miRNA hairpins and increased variation in loop sequences. Interestingly, a striking drop in conservation was found for sequences immediately flanking the miRNA hairpins. This characteristic profile was employed to(More)
Serotonergic signaling is involved in many neurobiological processes and disturbed 5-HT homeostasis is implicated in a variety of psychiatric and addictive disorders. Here, we describe the functional characterization of the serotonin transporter (SERT) knockout rat model, that is generated by N-ethyl-N-nitrosurea (ENU)-driven target-selected mutagenesis.(More)
Human studies have shown that a reduction of 5-HT transporter (SERT) increases the vulnerability for anxiety and depression. Moreover, women are more vulnerable to develop depression and anxiety disorders than men. For that reason we hypothesized that homozygous 5-HT transporter knockout rat (SERT(-/-)) models, especially female, are valuable and reliable(More)
One of the most powerful methods available to assign function to a gene is to inactivate or knockout the gene. Recently,we described the first target-selected knockout in zebrafish. Here,we report on the further improvements of this procedure,resulting in a highly efficient and easy method to do target-selected mutagenesis in zebrafish. A library of 4608(More)
We used massively parallel sequencing to compare the microRNA (miRNA) content of human and chimpanzee brains, and we identified 447 new miRNA genes. Many of the new miRNAs are not conserved beyond primates, indicating their recent origin, and some miRNAs seem species specific, whereas others are expanded in one species through duplication events. These data(More)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding RNAs that can regulate gene expression. Several hundred genes encoding miRNAs have been experimentally identified in animals, and many more are predicted by computational methods. How can new miRNAs be discovered and distinguished from other types of small RNA? Here we summarize current methods for identifying and validating(More)
Impulsivity and aggression have been suggested to inversely correlate with central serotonin (5-HT) levels in a trait-like manner. However, this relationship is far from straightforward. In the present study we addressed the effect of lifelong reduced or absent serotonin transporter (SERT) function, which is associated with constitutively increased(More)
Since the publication of the human reference genome, the identities of specific genes associated with human diseases are being discovered at a rapid rate. A central problem is that the biological activity of these genes is often unclear. Detailed investigations in model vertebrate organisms, typically mice, have been essential for understanding the(More)
The abundance and dynamics of copy number variants (CNVs) in mammalian genomes poses new challenges in the identification of their impact on natural and disease phenotypes. We used computational and experimental methods to catalog CNVs in rat and found that they share important functional characteristics with those in human. In addition, 113 one-to-one(More)