The gene organization of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) varies within and among different organisms. This diversity is reflected in the maturation pathways of these small noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). The presence of noncoding RNAs in introns has implications for the biogenesis of both mature small RNAs and host mRNA. The balance of the interactions between the processing or ribonucleoprotein assembly of intronic noncoding RNAs and the splicing process can regulate the levels of ncRNA and host mRNA. The processing of snoRNAs - both intronic and non-intronic - is well characterised in yeast, plants and animals and provides a basis for examining how intronic plant miRNAs are processed. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.