James E. Tarver, Philip C. J. Donoghue and Kevin J. Peterson Do miRNAs have a deep evolutionary history? BioEssays 34
Only five eukaryotic clades (plants, green algae, brown algae, demosponges, and eumetazoans) are currently known to possess microRNAs, with each clade evolving their own unique repertoire. The only conserved element in microRNA biogenesis is the multi-domain protein DICER and provides another example of molecular exaptation.
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