Toward the promise of microRNAs – Enhancing reproducibility and rigor in microRNA research

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71 Scopus citations


The fields of applied and translational microRNA research have exploded in recent years as microRNAs have been implicated across a spectrum of diseases. MicroRNA biomarkers, microRNA therapeutics, microRNA regulation of cellular physiology and even xenomiRs have stimulated great interest, which have brought many researchers into the field. Despite many successes in determining general mechanisms of microRNA generation and function, the application of microRNAs in translational areas has not had as much success. It has been a challenge to localize microRNAs to a given cell type within tissues and assay them reliably. At supraphysiologic levels, microRNAs may regulate hosts of genes that are not the physiologic biochemical targets. Thus the applied and translational microRNA literature is filled with pitfalls and claims that are neither scientifically rigorous nor reproducible. This review is focused on increasing awareness of the challenges of working with microRNAs in translational research and recommends better practices in this area of discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1116
Number of pages14
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Biomarker
  • miRNA
  • microRNA
  • small RNA-seq
  • transfection
  • translational research
  • xenomir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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