RNA secondary structure is often predicted from sequence by free energy minimization. Over the past two years, advances have been made in the estimation of folding free energy change, the mapping of secondary structure and the implementation of computer programs for structure prediction. The trends in computer program development are: efficient use of experimental mapping of structures to constrain structure prediction; use of statistical mechanics to improve the fidelity of structure prediction; inclusion of pseudoknots in secondary structure prediction; and use of two or more homologous sequences to find a common structure. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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