Conserved RNA pseudoknots
Pseudoknots are essential for the functioning of many small RNA molecules. In addition, viral RNAs often exhibit pseudoknots that are required at various stages of the viral life-cycle. Techniques for detecting evolutionarily conserved, and hence most likely functional RNA pseudoknots, are therefore of interest. Here we present an extension of the alidot approach that extracts conserved secondary structures from a multiple sequence alignment and predicted secondary structures of the individual sequences. In contrast to purely phylogenetic methods, this approach yields good results already for small samples of 10 sequences or even less.
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