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SENSE/ANTISENSE: what's the concensus?

Paul N Hengen pnh at kaylor.ncifcrf.gov
Wed Dec 27 14:05:18 EST 1995

Microplate at eworld.com wrote:

: You are so right STEPHEN, we need to concenterate on what Science is about,
: as you rightly say "search for the truth" let's not get hung up over petty
: definitions....

I'm sorry. I don't want to step into this debate, but I do want to say that
this IS what science is about. If scientists cannot describe what they mean
in terms that everyone will understand completely, then we are all lost. I see
this confusion over sense and antisense everyday. For example, I study binding
sites on DNA and I have to try to interpret a DNaseI footprint directly from
someone else's published figure of a gel. Now, reading the text, it might say
"the sense strand was 3' end labeled", but what they really mean is the
opposite strand was labeled. Then I try to locate the binding site or DNaseI
hypersensitive locations by orienting myself using the one lane provided with
G+A bands....THAT is a huge headache!  It might take me hours to figure out
that they made the mistake of which strand they meant. Can it be fixed? Can we
agree on a different system of terms in which we all know exactly which strand
is meant, independent of the history of how it was discovered and mis-named??

* Paul N. Hengen, Ph.D.                           /--------------------------/*
* National Cancer Institute                       |Internet: pnh at ncifcrf.gov |*
* Laboratory of Mathematical Biology              |   Phone: (301) 846-5581  |*
* Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center|     FAX: (301) 846-5598  |*
* Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201 USA              /--------------------------/*
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