The last two decades of research have revealed a staggering number of functional roles for RNA, beyond its traditional role in the central dogma. The structurally and functionally diverse riboswitches are cis-regulatory elements of mRNA molecules that control gene expression through adoption of two distinct conformations in response to environmental signals. RIboswitches have so far only been discovered by chance, but the availability of next-generation transcriptomic data offers an opportunity for automated discovery using a computational approach that combines the signals from NGS data, sequence and structure conservation, and folding energy calculation into a predictor of putative novel riboswitches.
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