HOTAIR (for HOX antisense intergenic RNA) is a nearly 2,200 nucleotide RNA molecule transcribed from junk DNA on human chromosome 12 which controls gene expression on chromosome 2. It is an important factor in the differentiation of skin over the surface of the body. Skin from various anatomical positions is distinct, e.g. the skin of the eyelid differs markedly from that on the sole of the foot. Its source DNA is located within a HOX gene cluster. It is the first example of an RNA expressed on one chromosome influencing transcription on another chromosome. It is shuttled from chromosome 12 to chromosome 2 by the Suz-Twelve protein.


"The Production Line" by Anna Petherick, Nature 454, 1043-1045 (2008).
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