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National Training Office December 13th, 2019
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The NCBI Gene Database: a librarian’s unknown known for genetic questions

Posted in: News

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A student walks into a library looking for breast cancer information for a class project. All they know is their teacher asked for a report on the genetics of breast cancer. The teacher wants to know the location of the chromosome in the gene assembly where the breast cancer gene mutation occurs, variations in the gene and if  they are associated with other disease, and genetic testing options. The project is due tomorrow. Can you help?

Before you start thinking the joke is on you, consider the NCBI Gene  database.

NCBI Gene is one of those databases you don’t know you need to know until you need to know and you don’t know.

Basically, it’s like a Wikipedia for gene related information.

I draw that similarity because  NCBI Gene centralizes gene related information into individual records. All kinds of gene-specific data are connected, from gene symbols to PubMed citations to 3D gene visualization. Much like a long Wikipedia entry, the gene-specific data are presented in an expandable outline format, so getting to a particular piece of the gene-specific data is fairly painless. It also bears mentioning that much of the data in NCBI Gene is user-submitted, so in that respect, like Wikipedia, NCBI Gene is crowd-sourced.

So the next time a last minute request for genetic information comes your way, don’t panic. Head to NCBI Gene and try searching the keyword. It helps to know the organism (ex: homo sapiens), or you can filter results by Top Organisms. (For the record, the breast cancer gene – BRCA1 is located in Chromosome 17 of the human genome.)

Learn more about how to search NCBI Gene at our bioinformatics webinar next Thursday, March 9 at 10 am PT/ 11 am MT/ Noon CT/ 1pm ET

Can’t make it? Register anyway & we’ll send you a recording. Registration info below.

Five questions you can answer using the NCBI Gene database

Mar 9, 2017
1:00PM – 2:00PM ET






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