To an RNA pseudoknot structure is naturally associated a topological surface, which has its associated genus, and structures can thus be classified by the genus. Based on earlier work of Harer-Zagier, we compute the generating function for the number of those structures of fixed genus and minimum stack size with nucleotides so that no two consecutive nucleotides are basepaired and show that is algebraic. In particular, we prove that , where . Thus, for stack size at least two, the genus only enters through the sub-exponential factor, and the slow growth rate compared to the number of RNA molecules implies the existence of neutral networks of distinct molecules with the same structure of any genus. Certain RNA structures called shapes are shown to be in natural one-to-one correspondence with the cells in the Penner-Strebel decomposition of Riemann's moduli space of a surface of genus with one boundary component, thus providing a link between RNA enumerative problems and the geometry of Riemann's moduli space.
Journal of Mathematical Biology, 2013, Vol 67, Issue 5, p. 1261-1278
RANDOM INDUCED SUBGRAPHS SEQUENCE STRUCTURE MAPS NEUTRAL NETWORKS MODULI SPACE EXHAUSTIVE ENUMERATION SECONDARY STRUCTURES CHORD DIAGRAMS COMBINATORIAL PSEUDOKNOTS INVARIANTS