MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small RNAs that play significant roles in regulating the expression of the post-transcriptional skin and hair follicle gene. In recent years, extensive studies on these microRNAs have been carried out in mammals such as mice, rats, pigs and cattle. By comparison, the number of microRNAs that have been identified in goats is relatively low; and in particular, the miRNAs associated with the processes of skin and hair follicle development remain largely unknown. In this study, areas of skin where the cashmere grows in anagen were sampled. A total of 10,943,292 reads were obtained using Solexa sequencing, a high-throughput sequencing technology. From 10,644,467 reads, we identified 3,381 distinct reads and after applying the classification statistics we obtained 316 miRNAs. Among them, using conservative identification, we found that 68 miRNAs (55 of these are confirmed to match known sheep and goat miRNAs in miRBase ) are conserved in goat and have been reported in NCBI; the remaining 248 miRNA were conserved in other species but have not been reported in goat. Furthermore, we identified 22 novel miRNAs. Both the known and novel miRNAs were confirmed by a second sequencing using the same method as was used in the first. This study confirmed the authenticity of 316 known miRNAs and the discovery of 22 novel miRNAs in goat. We found that the miRNAs that were co-expressed in goat and sheep were located in the same region of the respective chromosomes and may play an essential role in skin and follicle development. Identificaton of novel miRNAs resulted in significant enrichment of the repertoire of goat miRNAs.
Liu, Z., Xiao, H., Li, H., Zhao, Y., Lai, S., Yu, X., … Li, J. (2012). Identification of Conserved and Novel microRNAs in Cashmere Goat Skin by Deep Sequencing. PLoS ONE, 7(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050001