An RNA Safari: Exploring the Surprising Diversity of Mammalian Transcriptomes

An illustration of a landscape populated with different shapes representing RNA molecules.

This course will tour the exciting diversity of RNA molecules, and explore the major discoveries in RNA biology. (Image by MIT OpenCourseWare.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2016



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

The aim of this class is to introduce the exciting and often under appreciated discoveries in RNA biology by exploring the diversity of RNAs—encompassing classical molecules such as ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) as well as newer species, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), long-noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), and circular RNAs (circRNAs). For each new class of RNA, we will evaluate the evidence for its existence as well as for its proposed function. Students will develop both a deep understanding of the field of RNA biology and the ability to critically assess new papers in this fast-paced field.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

Related Content

Athma Pai, and Matthew Taliaferro. 7.343 An RNA Safari: Exploring the Surprising Diversity of Mammalian Transcriptomes. Spring 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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