Using Genomic Databases for Sequence-Based Biological Discovery
The inherent potential underlying the sequence data produced by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and other systematic sequencing projects is, obviously, tremendous. As such, it becomes increasingly important that all biologists have the ability to navigate through and cull important information from key publicly available databases. The continued rapid rise in available sequence information, particularly as model organism data is generated at breakneck speed, also underscores the necessity for all biologists to learn how to effectively make their way through the expanding “sequence information space.” This review discusses some of the more commonly used tools for sequence discovery; tools have been developed for the effective and efficient mining of sequence information. These include LocusLink, which provides a gene-centric view of sequence-based information, as well as the 3 major genome browsers: the National Center for Biotechnology Information Map Viewer, the University of California Santa Cruz Genome Browser, and the European Bioinformatics Institute’s Ensembl system. An overview of the types of information available through each of these front-ends is given, as well as information on tutorials and other documentation intended to increase the reader’s familiarity with these tools.
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