Genes. They’re what control the way living things look and even function, what eye color they may have and even what diseases they may live with. Scientists have worked for decades to understand how some genes get switched on while others are switched off, or silenced, determining which traits are expressed.

In a study recently published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, biochemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Harvard University have found a new piece of the puzzle by identifying an unusual cube-like RNA structure that can control gene silencing in roundworms. The basis for the structure is a sequence of nucleotides they call a “pUG.”

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