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August 01, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 14)

The RNA Modification Database

  • Nice collection of RNA info
  • Not tightly organized
RNAs are much more interesting molecules than DNA. Consider their multiple forms, the fact that they can act as catalysts of chemical reactions, and that they are often extensively modified chemically. That last property of these nucleic acids is the focus of this interesting collection, maintained at the University of Utah. The diversity of modification is amazing, with over 90 different nucleoside modifications. These include modifications in all the major forms of RNA including tRNA, rRNA, mRNA, tmRNA, snRNA, and even chromosomal RNAs. Organisms containing the modifications include representatives of archaea, eubacteria, and eukaryotes. The site’s approach to covering these modifications is a bit unsatisfying, with information loosely organized via links in a panel on the left side of the page and through a search function link at the top of the page. Results returned from the search engine showed structures, formulas, names, phylogenetic sources, and references. Clearly useful for researchers, the site could do more to be of general interest to others.
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