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RNA project to create language for scientists worldwide

ology will require incorporating the methods and vocabularies of chemists, molecular biologists, genomicists, information scientists and structural biologists. To help sort out the difficult conceptual issues, the consortium will organize frequent face-to-face meetings of RNA scientists. Members will also report their progress at the annual RNA Society meetings and receive feedback from the wider community of researchers.

The ontology team will identify all RNA motifs, or repeated patterns, mentioned in the literature or appearing in databases, to agree upon and write a definition for each motif. The consortium's work will be accessible on the Web to the various RNA research communities using servers hosted at BGSU.

Some researchers focus on the sequences of RNA molecules, while others study their 3-dimensional structures. A major focus of the project will be to integrate the databases of RNA sequences and 3D structure.

Leontis has experience in both areas. An affiliate of the BGSU Center for Biomolecular Sciences and the Northwest Ohio Bioinformatics Consortium, he is known internationally for his work on RNA structural bioinformatics--the field of science in which biology, computer science and information technology merge. Methods he has developed for analyzing and classifying RNA structures have been adopted internationally to advance RNA structure prediction and simulation and RNA sequence analysis. His work is supported by the National Institutes for Health and the American Chemical Society.

Leontis describes RNA molecules as "the software controlling how the genes are expressed to make proteins." They are unique in being able to store and transmit information as well as process that information.

The continuous discovery of new RNA molecules with novel biological functions is beginning to show that RNA plays far more roles than originally believed. For instance, while genomicists had previously determined that humans and
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Source:Bowling Green State University


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