On the Expected Free Energy of RNA Molecules
- This article focuses on the analytical analysis of the free energy in a realistic model for RNA secondary structures. In fact, the free energy in a stochastic model derived from a database of small and large subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU and LSU rRNA) data is studied. A common thermody-namic model for computing the free energy of a given RNA secondary structure, as well as stochastic context-free grammars and generating functions are used to derive the desired results. These results include asymptotics for the expected free energy and for the corresponding variance of a random RNA secondary structure. The quality of our model is judged by comparing the derived results to the used database of SSU and LSU rRNA data. At the end of this article, it is discussed how our results could be used to help on identifying good predictions of RNA secondary structure.