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Our friend Aaron Rowe over at Wired Science wanted to point us to a cool post he put up yesterday:
This week, I noticed that a collection of servers, which can predict the shapes of RNA molecules, have been upgraded, and their new website looks great.
Paste any RNA sequence into the University of Vienna RNA Fold form and it will respond with a wealth of information — including a multicolor diagram.
RNA is best known for its ability to carry the recipes for proteins around within cells, but sometimes the stringy molecules get tangled up into special shapes, which allow them to cause chemical reactions, activate the production of proteins, or stick to things like antibodies.
Aaron thought this could be a fun web activity to share with our kids – try entering any old string of protein letters, and see what cool molecule the tool gives back. Sort of like Scrabble science with pictures.