DATABASE: Bad Micromanagers

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Science  23 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5781, pp. 1721
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5781.1721b

To control gene activity, cells sometimes deploy stumpy strands called microRNAs (miRNAs) that latch onto a corresponding sequence in a messenger RNA molecule and stall protein production. Mutations can foul up these matching sequences or form new ones in inappropriate locations, mistakes that might underlie some cases of Tourette syndrome (Science, 14 October 2005, p. 211) and other conditions. The new database Patrocles from the University of Liège in Belgium gathers SNPs, or one-letter changes in DNA, that create or eliminate miRNA attachment sites. The site houses data on mice and humans.

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