Research Topic

Bioinformatics of Non-Coding RNAs with Applications to Biomedicine: Recent Advances and Open Challenges

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The recent discovery of small and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has represented a major breakthrough in the life sciences. These molecules add a new layer of complexity to biological processes and pathways by revealing a sophisticated and dynamic interconnected system whose structure is just beginning to be ...

The recent discovery of small and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has represented a major breakthrough in the life sciences. These molecules add a new layer of complexity to biological processes and pathways by revealing a sophisticated and dynamic interconnected system whose structure is just beginning to be uncovered. Genetic and epigenetic aberrations affecting ncRNA gene sequences and their expression have been linked to a variety of pathological conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases. Latest advances in the development of high throughput analysis techniques may help to shed light on the complex regulatory mechanisms in which ncRNA molecules are involved. Bioinformatics tools constitute a unique and essential resource for non-coding RNA studies, providing a powerful technology to organize, integrate and analyze the huge amount of data produced daily by wet biology experiments in order to discover patterns, identify relationships among heterogeneous biological elements and formulate functional hypotheses. The aim of this Research Topic is to collect both review and original research articles by experts in the field in order to cover the basics of bioinformatics approaches to ncRNA research, describe well-established and novel databases, methods and tools, and, finally, address the open questions and challenges of this exciting and innovative field in connection with the most important biomedical applications. Potential topics focus on different categories of ncRNAs, among which microRNAs, piRNAs, other small RNAs and long ncRNAs, and include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Databases of ncRNAs
-Differential expression analysis of ncRNAs and their characterization as biomarkers
-Discovery and characterization of novel ncRNAs from deep sequencing data and other sources
-Prediction of ncRNA interaction targets (e.g. microRNA target prediction)
-Functional analysis of ncRNAs
-Computational analysis of ncRNA structure
-Computational design of therapeutic tools based on ncRNAs


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