UCL Cancer Institute


Cancer Institute Seminar Series - Prof John Mattick

15 November 2018, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Professor John Mattick

Professor John Mattick, Genomics England and Green Templeton College, Oxford presents: 'RNA at the epicentre of human development.'

Event Information

Open to



Veronica Dominguez


Courtyard Cafe
UCL Cancer Institute 72 Huntley Street

The genomic programming of human development appears to have been misunderstood. The mammalian genome contains only ~20,000 protein-coding genes, similar in number and with largely orthologous functions as those in other animals, including simple nematodes. On the other hand, the extent of non-protein-coding DNA increases with increasing developmental and cognitive complexity, reaching 98.5% in humans. Moreover, high throughput analyses have shown that the majority of the mammalian genome is differentially and dynamically transcribed during development to produce tens if not hundreds of thousands of short and long non-protein-coding RNAs that show highly specific expression patterns and subcellular locations, increasing numbers of which are being shown to play important etiological roles in cancer and other complex diseases. These RNAs function at many different levels of gene expression and cell biology, including translational control, subcellular domain formation and guidance of the epigenetic processes that underpin development, brain function and physiological adaptation, augmented by the superimposition of plasticity by RNA editing, RNA modification and retrotransposon mobilization. The evidence is now overwhelming that there is a massive hidden layer and network of RNA-based regulatory transactions in human genome biology and that the protein-centric operator-repressor model of gene regulation derived from studies of bacteria is incorrect in highly organized and spatially specialized multicellular organisms.

Hosted by Professor Adrienne Flanagan

A light lunch will be serves after the seminar 

About the Speaker

Genomics England