Towards Accurate and Efficient Nucleic Acid Secondary Structure Prediction

Accurate means for prediction of the structure of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA molecules) are increasingly in demand, because of their regulatory and catalytic roles in the cell, their promise in therapeutics, and their use in construction of nano-scale biosensors, tubes, lattices, and much more.

Prediction methods from the base sequence find that structure with minimum free energy, with respect to a standard energy model developed by biochemists. However, the quality of predictions is limited by the quality of the energy model, and MFE predictions are not informed by the folding pathway.

In this talk, we'll describe progress towards more accurate structure prediction, enabled by improved inference of energy parameters using maximum likelihood techniques, and by efficient algorithms that better model the structure formation process.

Anne Condon, The University of British Columbia, Canada


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