DATABASE: Naked RNA on the Rampage

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Science  13 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5626, pp. 1633
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5626.1633c

The AIDS virus is far simpler than our cells, but it's a complex contraption compared to a viroid: a short strand of RNA that infects plants. Although they lack even a protective coat of protein, viroids manage to migrate from host to host and reproduce, causing maladies such as pear blister canker and cadang-cadang disease of coconuts. The Subviral RNA Database boasts about 1300 nucleotide sequences for viroids and related solo RNA molecules, such as the hepatitis delta virus that helps trigger hepatitis D in people. Hosted by the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada, the database provides the sequence and original citation for each insidious RNA snippet.

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