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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10, @07:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-consists-of-R-N-A dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

It is the less known member of the nucleic acid family, superseded in popularity by its cousin DNA. And yet RNA, or ribonucleic acid, plays an essential role in many biological processes: not only as messenger molecule with the task of transmitting genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for protein production, but also as protagonist of different and significantly important cellular mechanisms.

In many of these, its structure plays a crucial role. Structure is different and characteristic for each RNA depending on the sequence of specific units, known as nucleotides, which compose it like the links of a chain.

A research team at SISSA, led by Professor Giovanni Bussi, has developed a computerised simulation model which can effectively predict the three-dimensional conformation of the RNA filament starting from a sequence of nucleotides. The lead author of the study, just published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, is SISSA researcher Simón Poblete. The work promises to have a significant impact in the research and application field.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, @07:38AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, @07:38AM (#620378)

    I don't mean a strand of each. I mean the links are randomly one way or the other. For example, a strand that is 42% RNA and 58% DNA.

    That seems to be a likely pre-life molecule to start with.

    • (Score: 2) by terryk30 on Wednesday January 10, @11:01AM (2 children)

      by terryk30 (1753) on Wednesday January 10, @11:01AM (#620427)

      No. [wikipedia.org] They have different backbone molecules, and moreover DNA is double-stranded whereas RNA is single-stranded.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday January 10, @05:44PM

        by HiThere (866) on Wednesday January 10, @05:44PM (#620539)

        I still think it's no, but your answer is too simple. There might be a possibility of some coupler. I don't know what advantage such a thing would have, though. (Also, sometimes DNA is single stranded, and it can bind to itself in a loop with a short tail which would be where you would attach the coupler.)

        OTOH, this isn't DNA acting as a carrier of genetic material. The loops can occasionally show up there, but they don't have free ends, and I'm not sure they show up in strands without problems.

        OTTH, RNA couples with DNA all the time to create transfer RNA, but that's not a very permanent link.

        Caution: I am not a biologist of any stripe, much less a molecular biologist. Don't take these assertions as authoritative, they are merely statements of belief based on past reading. I have no direct evidence for them.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, @08:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, @08:42PM (#620619)

        DNA can be single-stranded. It is in fact, every time it gets transcribed or copied.

        RNA can be double-stranded. This naturally forms. It's a key feature of the structure of tRNA.

        The "different backbone molecules" is the whole point of what it means to be a hybrid. You could have a deoxyribose, then a ribose, then a couple deoxyribose, then a ribose...

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