Hundreds of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified as potential regulators of gene expression, but their functions remain largely unknown. To study the role of lncRNAs during vertebrate development, we selected 25 zebrafish lncRNAs based on their conservation, expression profile or proximity to developmental regulators, and used CRISPR-Cas9 to generate 32 deletion alleles. We observed altered transcription of neighboring genes in some mutants, but none of the lncRNAs were required for embryogenesis, viability or fertility. Even RNAs with previously proposed non-coding functions (cyrano and squint) and other conserved lncRNAs (gas5 and lnc-setd1ba) were dispensable. In one case (lnc-phox2bb), absence of putative DNA regulatory-elements, but not of the lncRNA transcript itself, resulted in abnormal development. LncRNAs might have redundant, subtle, or context-dependent roles, but extrapolation from our results suggests that the majority of individual zebrafish lncRNAs have no overt roles in embryogenesis, viability and fertility.
- Alexander F Schier
- Mehdi Goudarzi
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Elisabeth M Busch-Nentwich, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
- Received: August 5, 2018
- Accepted: January 8, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: January 8, 2019 (version 1)
© 2019, Goudarzi et al.
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