Members of Tian Hong’s research group at BCMB and their collaborators from Jun-An Chen’s lab at Academia Sinica, Taipei uncovered a new feedback mechanism that drives robust cell differentiation. This feedback mechanism is hidden in elementary reaction networks of RNA molecules, and likely widespread in biology. The team found that this feedback mechanism underlies cell lineage decisions at a tissue boundary in the mouse spinal cord during embryonic development. The research was featured as the cover story of a recent issue of Molecular Systems Biology: ‘MicroRNAs govern bistable cell differentiation and lineage segregation via noncanonical feedback’. GST students Ziyi Liu and Andrew Willems are co-authors of this paper.