microRNA families

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Rfam is collaborating with miRBase in order to provide a comprehensive collection of microRNA families
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Project goal

Both Rfam and miRBase contain classifications of microRNA families. However, before Rfam 14.3 the two databases have not been coordinated or synchronised. Previously, miRBase used a semi-automated clustering method relying on BLAST. These sequence-only miRBase families have higher coverage but lower quality than the Rfam microRNA families.

Before the start of the project, Rfam contained 529 microRNA families, while miRBase annotated 1,983 microRNA families. Only 28% of the miRBase families matched one or more of the Rfam families.

Our goal is to create and review up to 2,000 microRNA families to increase the coverage of microRNAs in Rfam, as well as investigate and rationalise the entries that are unique to each database.

Current progress

We are pleased to announce that as of our latest release, 14.10, the first phase of the synchronisation between Rfam and miRBase is complete!

In this release, we created 62 new miRBase families and updated 138. Over the course of the project we have created and updated 1536 families in total.

We have updated all miRNA families in Rfam that do not require novel data from miRBase.

Phase Two

Further phases will focus on updating or improving miRBase families and then reflecting these changes in miRBase and Rfam. Contact Rfam if you have questions or feedback about this project.