MicroRNAs (miRNAs), playing an important role in cell differentiation, development, gene regulation, and apoptosis, have attracted much attention in recent years. miRNAs were shown to be involved in the mechanisms of various diseases, and certainly, they can be employed as useful disease biomarkers. The phylogenetic tree analysis of miRNA biomarkers is a useful tool to investigate the association between various diseases as well as the association between viruses and disease. In addition to the phylogenetic tree analysis, a more advanced study is to use the miRNA distance distribution to evaluate the similarity of the miRNA biomarkers. The mature miRNA distance distribution based on mature miRNA sequences has been derived. The averages of the pairwise distances of miRNA biomarkers for several associated diseases were shown to be smaller than the overall mean of all miRNAs, which indicates the high similarity of miRNA biomarkers for associated diseases. In addition to the mature miRNA, the precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA) may be more useful to explore the similarity of miRNAs because the mature miRNA duplex is released from the pre-miRNA. Therefore, in this study, the distance distributions based on human pre-miRNA stem–loop sequences were derived. The 1917 human miRNA stem-loop sequences in the miRBase dataset were used to derive the pre-miRNA distance distribution, and this is the first study to provide the distance distribution based on the human pre-miRNAs. The similarity of miRNA biomarkers for several associated diseases or vaccines was examined using the derived distribution, and the results show that the similarity of pre-miRNA biomarkers may be a feasible way to help explore the disease association.
- disease association