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I prefer proteins, but I occasionally dabble with DNA as all biologists need to do from time to time. On this SE I noticed that there are tags for , , and .

Inspired by an inconclusive tagging enzymes as proteins meta question, I'm wondering if it would be much more efficient to just use the nucleic acid tag rather than these specific tags? I guess I am asking people working in DNA or RNA, are there situations where the other nucleic acid is a completely different kettle of fish?

Example

This came up specifically after I noticed this question which requires specific expertise on RNA and DNA, but also generally would use the nucleic acid tag. That's three tags for as far as I can see could all be under one supertag since now there is no room for a biochemistry tag for example.

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    $\begingroup$ Let's just make one tag named "biology" and be done with it! $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 2 '15 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhere in-between "biology" and subgroups of pretty specific biochemicals would be more appropriate than either. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Sep 2 '15 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Working with DNA and working with RNA are "completely different kettle of fish", so to speak. RNases are everywhere, and all your cleaning efforts can be in vain if you use a contaminated pipettor without an aerosol tip. DNA is, well, DNA. You can immobilize it on filter paper and store it in your drawer. You can leave it on your bench for weeks. DNase (at least in my experience) is very unstable, and can be inactivated by vortexing, for goodness sakes. I vote to keep the tags separate. I don't know about [rna] and [mrna], but whatever works for people... $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Sep 6 '15 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ As far as that question you linked, I edited it to remove [dna] and [rna], as [nucleic-acids] is fine. I added [biochemistry], too. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Sep 6 '15 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Note that there are specific journals dedicated to RNA-biology $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Sep 9 '15 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ Add "lipid" please! Surprisingly no such tag. $\endgroup$
    – Dexter
    Sep 9 '15 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ @wysiwyg Thats a good point, but there are also journals in countless niches that wouldn't warrant their own tag. I like Mad Scientists point too. Keep the tags because specialists use them, but perhaps their use should be calmed down. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Sep 10 '15 at 12:06
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RNA and DNA can have very different functions. They're similar molecules, but are generally used for completely different purposes. The tag is far too broad, even the and tags still have useful potential subdivisions like or or .

The actual issue is that the and tags are overused. Not every question that involves RNA somewhere needs to be tagged this way. We also don't tag every question that involves a protein with the tag.

A question about transcription doesn't need an tag, it probably should have a tag and a tag, but while RNA is involved in transcription, that doesn't mean it should be tagged this way.

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  • $\begingroup$ So you're saying the tags should exist but be used more sparingly. How does SE usually curb tag enthusiasts? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Sep 10 '15 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ @GoodGravy If we can come up with some general rules about when to use these tags, we can edit the existing questions tagged with them. This kind of large-scale retagging tends to destroy the frontpage to some extent, but that is hard to avoid. $\endgroup$ Sep 10 '15 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ What rules would you suggest? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Sep 10 '15 at 12:10

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