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My textbook says that in RNAi, a complementary double stranded RNA sequence attaches to an mRNA and silences it using a protein machinery. I Googled and read about this so now I know what siRNA and RISC and microRNA are. But the next thing my book says is

the source of these complementary double stranded RNA sequence [obviously my textbook means siRNA] may be viruses and transposable elements.”

What does this mean? Do transposons make siRNA? I thought transposons were non-coding except when they travel via the retrotransposon mechanism.

Do viruses that infect eukaryotic cells donate their own RNA genetic material for the cell to use in RNAi? But I thought RNAi was a cellular defence against viruses, how can viruses help give the dsRNA that’s supposed to fight the viruses? A number of sites online simply state that siRNA is exogenous is origin; do they mean that it comes from viruses?

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could take the time to answer each of my questions one by one or even recommend a site that answers them all.

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Transposons and viruses don't "make siRNA". However, an endonuclease called Dicer can process dsRNA from these sources to produce siRNA which is then loaded to the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) to suppress propagation of viruses and transposons. The following papers provide a good overview:

Buchon N, Vaury C. 2006. RNAi: a defensive RNA-silencing against viruses and transposable elements. Heredity 96:195-202.

van Rij RP, Andino R. 2006. The silent treatment: RNAi as a defense against virus infection in mammals. Trends Biotechnol 24:186-193.

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