The RNA Revolution: At the Frontiers of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

A calico cat, with orange, black, and white markings, sitting on a brick wall with a garden in the background.

Fur coloration in calico and tortoiseshell cats is just one example of X chromosome inactivation, a process that occurs in mammalian females as a means of dosage compensation between males (XY) and females (XX). See Week 6 to learn more about the role of lncRNAs in X chromosome inactivation. (Photograph by Nic Walker on Flickr. License BY-NC-SA.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2016



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Course Description

Course Description

In this course, we will investigate the diverse types and functions of different RNA species, with a focus on "non-coding RNAs," i.e. those that do not directly encode proteins. The course will convey both the exciting discoveries in and frontiers of RNA research that are propelling our understanding of cell biology as well as the intellectual and experimental approaches responsible.

The molecular biology revolution firmly established the role of DNA as the primary carrier of genetic information and proteins as the primary effector molecules of the cell. The intermediate between DNA and proteins is RNA, which initially was regarded as the "molecule in the middle" of the central dogma. This view has been transformed over the past two decades, as RNA has become recognized as a critical regulator of cellular processes.


Related Content

Salil Garg, and Amanda Ward. 7.342 The RNA Revolution: At the Frontiers of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. Fall 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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