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FastR: fast database search tool for non-coding RNA.

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Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, 92093-0114, USA.


The discovery of novel non-coding RNAs has been among the most exciting recent developments in Biology. Yet, many more remain undiscovered. It has been hypothesized that there is in fact an abundance of functional non-coding RNA (ncRNA) with various catalytic and regulatory functions. Computational methods tailored specifically for ncRNA are being actively developed. As the inherent signal for ncRNA is weaker than that for protein coding genes, comparative methods offer the most promising approach, and are the subject of our research. We consider the following problem: Given an RNA sequence with a known secondary structure, efficiently compute all structural homologs (computed as a function of sequence and structural similarity) in a genomic database. Our approach, based on structural filters that eliminate a large portion of the database, while retaining the true homologs allows us to search a typical bacterial database in minutes on a standard PC, with high sensitivity and specificity. This is two orders of magnitude better than current available software for the problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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