The first two known microRNAs (miRNAs), lin-4 and let-7, were originally discovered in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and control the timing of stem-cell division and differentiation. let-7 was subsequently found as the first known human miRNA. let-7 and its family members are highly conserved across species in sequence and function, and misregulation of let-7 leads to a less differentiated cellular state and the development of cell-based diseases such as cancer. Although much research has been devoted to let-7 target prediction and to understanding its biological role, research into what regulates let-7 has only just begun. Here, we review let-7-family conservation and the recent advances in understanding how let-7-expression is regulated at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels across species. A greater understanding of what controls let-7 expression might enable the development of treatments to fight or prevent many cancers.