from Science by
Surveys have uncovered thousands of long non-coding RNAs, molecules longer than 200 bases, and several groups have linked specific ones to development, cancer, pain, inflammation, and much more. There are lingering questions, however, about whether most of these molecules are functional or just spurious byproducts of transcription. At the recent Biology of Genomes meeting, several groups presented evidence for functionality, one using a new technique for visualizing these RNAs in single cells and another showing consistent activity of these RNAs across brain tissue of hundreds of people. So although some researchers remain skeptical, others see progress in the recognition of the importance of this class of RNA molecules.