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- User:DonaldBurke + (Whether we are thinking about the Origin o … Whether we are thinking about the Origin of Life, about the Molecular mechanisms of Viral Pathogenesis, or about RNA-based therapeutics, three kinds of questions underly our work: 1) What can nucleic acids do? 2) How do their sequences and structures relate to their ability to do it? and 3) Can we engineer new biologies by expressing artificial RNAs in cells?</br></br>Most of the RNA and ssDNA molecules we work with are isolated using the technology of in vitro directed molecular evolution (SELEX, Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment). The SELEX technology recovers rare functional molecules - for almost any function - from exceedingly complex mixtures, allowing us to explore the chemical and biological limits of what RNA and DNA can do. (Click here for a tutorial on SELEX.) do. (Click here for a tutorial on SELEX.))