Novel microRNAs (miRNAs) encoded by herpesvirus of Turkeys: evidence of miRNA evolution by duplication

Herpesviruses account for 134 out of the 140 virus-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) known today. Here we report the identification of 11 novel miRNAs encoded by herpesvirus of turkey (HVT), a virus used as a live vaccine in poultry against the highly oncogenic Marek's disease virus type 1. Ten of these miRNAs were clustered together within the repeat long region of the viral genome, demonstrating some degree of positional conservation with other mardiviruses. Close sequence and phylogenetic relationships of some miRNAs in this cluster indicate evolution by duplication. HVT miRNAs represent the first example of virus-encoded miRNAs that show evolution by duplication.

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