Can small RNAs chop up viruses?


Yes, small RNAs can indeed "chop up" viruses. This phenomenon is demonstrated in research discussed by and using a model involving fluorescent viruses and worms. In their experiment, worms infected with a fluorescent virus that could be destroyed by small RNAs showed this capability. They further explored this by studying the progeny of these worms, which despite lacking the genes necessary to produce their own small RNAs, inherited these small RNAs from their parents. These inherited RNAs matched the viral genome and were capable of chopping up the virus in subsequent generations, thus protecting the worms 1.

Genetic Advantage

Oded and Andrew discuss how worms can inherit genetic instructions from their parents that would give them an advantage against a fluorescent virus. The advantage comes in the form of small RNAs that match the viral genome and can chop up the virus in the next generation.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Oded Rechavi: Genes & the Inheritance of Memories Across Generations | Huberman Lab Podcast