Genomic analysis has found that the transcriptome in both humans and Drosophila melanogaster features large numbers of long non-coding RNA transcripts (lncRNAs). This recently discovered class of RNAs regulates gene expression in diverse ways and has been involved in a large variety of important biological functions. Importantly, an increasing number of lncRNAs have also been associated with a range of human diseases, including cancer. Comparative analyses of their functions among these organisms suggest that some of their modes of action appear to be conserved. This highlights the importance of model organisms such as Drosophila, which shares many gene regulatory networks with humans, in understanding lncRNA function and its possible impact in human health. This review discusses some known functions and mechanisms of action of lncRNAs and their implication in human diseases, together with their functional conservation and relevance in Drosophila development.

You do not currently have access to this content.