The genome of some icosahedral RNA viruses plays an essential role in capsid assembly and structure. In T=3 particles of the nodavirus Pariacoto virus (PaV), a remarkable 35% of the single-stranded RNA genome is icosahedrally ordered. This ordered RNA can be visualized at high resolution by X-ray crystallography as a dodecahedral cage consisting of 30 24-nucleotide A-form RNA duplex segments that each underlie a twofold icosahedral axis of the virus particle and interact extensively with the basic N-terminal region of 60 subunits of the capsid protein. To examine whether the PaV genome is a specific determinant of the RNA structure, we produced virus-like particles (VLPs) by expressing the wild-type capsid protein open reading frame from a recombinant baculovirus. VLPs produced by this system encapsidated similar total amounts of RNA as authentic virus particles, but only about 6% of this RNA was PaV specific, the rest being of cellular or baculovirus origin. Examination of the VLPs by electron cryomicroscopy and image reconstruction at 15.4-A resolution showed that the encapsidated RNA formed a dodecahedral cage similar to that of wild-type particles. These results demonstrate that the specific nucleotide sequence of the PaV genome is not required to form the dodecahedral cage of ordered RNA.