Whole transcriptome analyses have revealed a large number of novel long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although the importance of lncRNAs has been documented in previous reports, the biological and physiological functions of lncRNAs remain largely unknown. The role of lncRNAs seems an elusive problem. Here, I propose a clue to the identification of regulatory lncRNAs. The key point is RNA half-life. RNAs with a long half-life (t1/2 > 4 h) contain a significant proportion of ncRNAs, as well as mRNAs involved in housekeeping functions, whereas RNAs with a short half-life (t1/2 < 4 h) include known regulatory ncRNAs and regulatory mRNAs. This novel class of ncRNAs with a short half-life can be categorized as Short-Lived non-coding Transcripts (SLiTs). I consider that SLiTs are likely to be rich in functionally uncharacterized regulatory RNAs. This review describes recent progress in research into SLiTs.
2017 International Research and Cooperation Association for Bio & Socio-Sciences Advancement