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RNA project to create language for scientists worldwide

Research into ribonucleic acids (RNA)--the building blocks of life--is exploding as scientists worldwide discover the roles of RNA in genetics, health, disease and the development of organisms. The rapidly growing body of knowledge has created the need for researchers to develop a shared vocabulary and system for describing, cataloging and comparing their findings.

An international team of RNA scientists, known as the RNA Ontology Consortium, has now been formed to do just that.

"The consortium will develop a common vocabulary and scientific concepts relating RNA structure and function to allow RNA scientists worldwide to communicate with one another as well as to integrate different kinds of information they obtain about RNA molecules," explained Dr. Neocles Leontis, a Bowling Green State University chemistry professor chosen by the RNA Society to head the consortium.

"This," he added, "will make it easier to turn molecular information into useful knowledge that can help us to understand how different cells grow and develop as they do. This knowledge is key to curing hereditary diseases."

The National Science Foundation is providing $500,000 for the five-year project as one of its Research Coordination Networks, whose goals are to "encourage and foster interaction among scientists" and to facilitate "innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies."

As principal investigator, Leontis will serve as coordinator of the consortium, which includes scientists from the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia. Participating are leading researchers from Stanford, Duke, Yale, Rutgers and Georgia Tech universities, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of North Carolina, the University of Rochester, the University of Montréal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire in France, and the Scripps Research Institute.

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Source:Bowling Green State University


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