Computational prediction of microRNA (miRNA) targets is a fundamental step towards the characterization of miRNA function and the understanding of their role in disease. A single miRNA can regulate hundreds of different gene transcripts through partial sequence complementarity and a single gene may be regulated by several miRNAs acting cooperatively. The remarkable advances made in recent years have allowed the identification of key features for functional miRNA binding sites. A plethora of prediction tools are now available, but their accuracies remain rather poor, as miRNA target recognition has revealed itself to be a very complex and dynamic mechanism, still only partially understood. In this chapter, the principles of miRNA target prediction in animals are presented, together with the most up-to-date and effective computational approaches and tools available.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Post-transcriptional gene regulation
  • Target prediction
  • microRNA


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