In the ongoing arms race between pathogenic viruses and the cells they infect, each side needs every advantage it can get. One way wily viruses can get a leg up is by subverting the micro-RNA (miRNA) of their host.
The miRNAs are small stretches of RNA made by host cells to regulate gene expression. If a virus can co-opt one, it can manipulate its host without having to make its own protein. This strategy saves valuable space in the viral genome and allows the virus to better hide
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