May 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 10)
Strong Points: Interesting software
Weak Points: Narrow focus
From Fabrice Jossinet, an assistant professor at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, comes this blog dealing with Sequence to Structure (S2S)—a software to “display, manipulate, and interconnect RNA data from the sequence to the structure.” For the uninitiated, this may be a little vague, so I’ll try to interpret. The aim here is to provide RNA researchers with relevant structure information. RNA of course is very different from DNA in several respects. Most of these derive from alternative base pairings enabled by replacing T with U, the 2´ oxygen of ribose (not in deoxyribose), and the usually single-stranded nature of RNA. As a result of these differences, there are a lot more considerations to predicting RNA structure over DNA structure. Indeed, RNA can form much more elaborate 3-D structures than duplex DNA. S2S is written in Java to facilitate cross-platform usage and currently runs on Linux and Mac OSX systems. At the site, visitors can download the software for free and learn a lot more about it than I can describe in this limited space. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in RNA structure.