If PubMed is any guide, the microRNA field is smokin’ hot. Of the nearly 11,100 references that come up in a search for “microRNA,” nearly two-thirds (64%) were published since 2009.
It’s no wonder. Although microRNAs (miRNAs) may be small—they average 22 nucleotides in length—they carry a big stick, biologically speaking. “We can say with confidence that over 60% of human protein-coding genes are conserved targets of miRNAs,” wrote David Bartel and colleagues in 2009. 
To date, some 16,772 miRNAs have been discovered and logged in miRBase, including 1,424 in humans. The question for researchers probing these molecules’ biology is, which miRNAs are active under a given set of experimental conditions, and how does that pattern change in the dynamic cellular environment?
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