Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) affect the heart and the vascular system with a high prevalence and place a huge burden on society as well as the healthcare system. These complex diseases are often the result of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors and pose a great challenge to understanding their etiology and consequences. With the advent of next generation sequencing, many non-coding RNA transcripts, especially long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), have been linked to the pathogenesis of CVD. Despite increasing evidence, the proper functional characterization of most of these molecules is still lacking. The exploration of conservation of sequences across related species has been used to functionally annotate protein coding genes. In contrast, the rapid evolutionary turnover and weak sequence conservation of lncRNAs make it difficult to characterize functional homologs for these sequences. Recent studies have tried to explore other dimensions of interspecies conservation to elucidate the functional role of these novel transcripts. In this review, we summarize various methodologies adopted to explore the evolutionary conservation of cardiovascular non-coding RNAs at sequence, secondary structure, syntenic, and expression level.
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