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Mar 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 6)

The Rensselaer and Wadsworth Bioinformatics Web Server-RNA and DNA Folding Applications

  • Useful tools
  • Nerdy-better descriptions needed
Wow! That’s a mouthful of a title. Does the material in the site merit such length? Readers, of course, will have to be the judges, but if I were to case a vote, I’d say yes. My reasoning is that there is a paucity of online sites dealing with RNA folding (let alone DNA folding). Michael Zuker, a name synonymous with RNA structure, is a prominent figure at the site, which includes software tools for predicting the secondary structure of RNA/DNA (surprise!) using thermodynamic methods. mFold, a program that performs these functions, can be downloaded at the site and can be accessed online, as well. Other programs include DINAMelt (predicting melting profiles of nucleic acids) and several specific applications for folding problems in RNA and DNA, for example, Quikfold, Zipfold, Tm server, and more. There’s a lot here for nerds of all ages.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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