In a recent study published by the National Peanut Research Laboratory, researchers performed high-throughput sequencing of small RNA populations in a control line and in two transformed peanut lines that expressed an inverted repeat targeting five genes involved in the aflatoxin-biosynthesis pathway and that showed up to 100% less aflatoxin B1 than the controls.
The objective of their study was to determine the putative involvement of the small RNA populations in aflatoxin reduction. In total, 41 known microRNA (miRNA) families and many novel miRNAs were identified. Among those, 89 known and 10 novel miRNAs were differentially expressed in the transformed lines. They furthermore found two small interfering RNAs derived from the inverted repeat, and 39 sRNAs that mapped without mismatches to the genome of A. flavus and were present only in the transformed lines.
This information increases our understanding of the effectiveness of RNAi and enables the possible improvement of the RNAi technology for the control of aflatoxins.