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A hairpin is the structure that RNA forms at the end of bacterial translation to help release it from the ribosome. Before the terminator sequence, a section of the DNA sequence is coded to be complimentary to the subsequent section of DNA. This results in a hairpin forming as complementary base pairing occurs within the same strand of RNA. The hairpin is thought to release the RNA transcript from the exit tunnel of the ribosome as it runs over the terminator sequence[1].


  1. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2002. From DNA to RNA. Available from:
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