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MIT Reels In RNA Surprise With Microbial Ocean Catch

An ingenious new method of obtaining marine microbe samples while preserving the microbes' natural gene expression has yielded an unexpected boon: the presence of many varieties of small RNAs ā€” snippets of RNA that act as switches to regulate gene expression in these single-celled creatures.

Before now, small RNA could only be studied in lab-cultured microorganisms; the discovery of its presence in a natural setting may make it possible finally to learn on a broad scale how microbial communities living at different ocean depths and regions respond to environmental stimuli.
 
 

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