A popular trend in the early days of hosting genomics and bioinformatics resources on the web was to create dna.*.edu domains. The choice of RNA for the domain of this server is a play on that tradition.
In cellular life, DNA is amazingly well suited to its core biological role: serving as a (relatively) static repository of information for the cell. RNA, by contrast, is the molecule which allows this information to be used in dynamic and complex ways.
This makes RNA the perfect analogy for the mission of the teaching and research tools hosted here: we're not just interested in data, but how data can be represented and explored in interesting and dynamic ways!
How did this service come to be?
This server is maintained by Gregg Whitworth; both he and the server hardware were brought to W&L through the HHMI Grant Initiative. Additionally, licensing for some of the software hosted here has been supported through the Office of the Dean's minigrant program. The server hardware and network infrastructure are supported by the excellent folks at W&L ITS.
I can't log in!
For a variety of reasons, RNA server uses a different set of login credentials than the main W&L network services (email, sakai, etc.). If you'd like to request access for yourself or your classes just contact me!