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The RNA genome of Rous Sarcoma Virus contains an extremely long 3' UTR that ranges between 5–7 kb in length which would usually direct it toward nonsense mediated decay (NMD) within the eukaryotic host cell. A conserved secondary structure element has been identified within the 3'UTR and is known as the Rous Sarcoma Virus Stability Element (RSE). This element has been shown to prevent the degradation of the unspliced viral RNA. The RSE element was first identified in the genome of the Rous Sarcoma Virus but appears to be widely conserved across the avian retrovirus family. The RSE element is ~300 bp in length and located downstream of the gag natural translational termination codon. The secondary structure of the RSE element has been determined by RNAse digestion and SHAPE chemistry analysis.