In the last years small RNA molecules, i.e. microRNA (miRNA) encoded by miR genes, have been found to play a crucial role in regulating gene expression of a considerable part of plant's and animal's genome. Here, we report the essential information on biogenesis of miRNAs and recent evidence on their important role in human diseases. Emphasis has been given to miR-155, since this molecule represents a typical multifunctional miRNA. Recent data indicate that miR-155 has distinct expression profiles and plays a crucial role in various physiological and pathological processes such as haematopoietic lineage differentiation, immunity, inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, miR-155 has been found to be implicated in viral infections, particularly in those caused by DNA viruses. The available experimental evidence indicating that miR-155 is over expressed in a variety of malignant tumors allows us to include this miRNA in the list of genes of paramount importance in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Exogenous molecular control in vivo of miR-155 expression could open up new ways to restrain malignant growth and viral infections, or to attenuate the progression of cardiovascular diseases.