In plants, the targets of deeply conserved microRNAs (miRNAs) were comprehensively studied. Evidence is emerging that targets of less conserved miRNAs, endogenous target mimics (eTM) and non-canonical targets play functional roles. Existing plant miRNA prediction tools lack a cross-species conservation filter and eTM prediction function. We developed a tool named TarHunter that features a strict cross-species conservation filter and capability of predicting eTMs. TarHunter has higher recall or precision rate as compared with other tools, and the conservation filter effectively increases prediction precision. TarHunter prediction combined with degradome analysis uncovered previously neglected miRNA targets including non-canonical target sites from various plant species, which are available at the TarHunter website (http://tarhunter.genetics.ac.cn/).
The code of TarHunter is available on Github (https://github.com/XMaBio).
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.