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We study small RNAs that regulate gene expression. Our main focus is on microRNAs (miRNAs), which are ~22-nt RNAs that specify gene repression by base-pairing to messages of protein-coding genes in plant and animal cells. Our lab is uncovering both the widespread influence of miRNAs on metazoan gene expression and the roles that miRNAs play during growth and development of plants and animals. For example, our results indicate that more than half of human protein-coding genes are conserved regulatory targets of miRNAs and that the miRNA-mediated regulation of one of these genes is important for preventing human cancers.