Antisense and sensibilities

Ferland Louis H. ferlandl at ERE.UMontreal.CA
Sat Jan 6 03:34:48 EST 1996

On 5 Jan 1996, Mikhail Alexeyev wrote:

> Date: 5 Jan 1996 21:00:45 GMT
> From: Mikhail Alexeyev <malexeyev at>
> To: methods at
> Subject: Re: Antisense and sensibilities
> In article <Pine.3.89.9601050033.E21549-0100000 at mistral.ERE.UMontreal.CA>,
> ferlandl at ERE.UMontreal.CA ("Ferland Louis H.") wrote:
> > 
> <snip>
> > But the problem is precisely: who's logic are we going to adopt? As I 
> > said earlier, I was playing devil's advocate in my response to Dr. 
> > Tornow: I do understand the logic (and the appeal) of the definition of 
> > the sense DNA strand as being the one similar to the transcribed RNA. It 
> > is precisely because there is a good logical thread that can be followed 
> > to rationalize EACH strand as being "sense" that I suggested the term is 
> > intrinsically confusing and might be best reserved for RNA where there is 
> > no problem.
> It has been suggested before that it is probably a good time to adopt the
> most logical of two concepts. I tend to agree. Like I mentioned before, I
> prefer Joanne Tornow's definition except I wouldn't call strain that is
> being copied to produce mRNA a "template strand". I would call it
> "antisense" strand for cosistency's sake. 

I beg to differ (for history's sake); no, really, I think a change of 
definition for an existing term would be more difficult to arrange than 
the adoption of a new term which responds to new knowledge. So, I still 
don't like anti-sense for DNA, though I may be ready to bail out.

I also think that there is
> little justification behind calling that strand "coding" one. What is
> really being coded is protein (or more precisely, amino acids). Since DNA
> strand used for transcription does not code for protein, it should not be
> called "coding". 
> <snip>
> > > If one needs to know which strand of DNA has sequence identical to RNA,
> > > there is no need for any operation:
> > > 
> > >  antisense DNA = antisense RNA
> > >  sense DNA     = sense RNA 
> > > 
> > I follow you but if the strand similar to RNA is going to become the sense 
> > strand, I think the simple statement that it is should be sufficient. The 
> > rest follows from the knowledge that transcription is anti-parallel.
> Exactly. That's the beuaty of it. I intentionally made my message 
> redundant (and probably annoying).
> M. Alexeyev

Dr. Louis H. Ferland
Centre de Recherche, Hotel-Dieu de Montreal
Dept de Nutrition, Universite de Montreal
Phone: (514) 843-2757     FAX: (514) 843-2719

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