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Title: GenBank  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of sequenced archaeal genomes, BIOSCI, Expressed sequence tag, RefSeq, Sequence profiling tool
Collection: Biological Databases, National Institutes of Health
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Description Nucleotide sequences for more than 300,000 organisms with supporting bibliographic and biological annotation.
Data types captured
  • Nucleotide sequence
  • Protein sequence
Organisms all
Research center NCBI
Primary citation PMID 21071399
Release date 1982 (1982)
Data format
Website NCBI
Download URL ncbi ftp
Web service URL
  • eutils
  • soap
Standalone BLAST
License Public domain-US Government

The GenBank exponential rate, doubling every 18 months.[1][2] Release 194, produced in February 2013, contained over 150 billion nucleotide bases in more than 162 million sequences.[3] GenBank is built by direct submissions from individual laboratories, as well as from bulk submissions from large-scale sequencing centers.


  • Submissions 1
  • History 2
  • Growth 3
  • Incomplete identifications 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Only original sequences can be submitted to GenBank. Direct submissions are made to GenBank using BankIt, which is a Web-based form, or the stand-alone submission program, Sequin. Upon receipt of a sequence submission, the GenBank staff examines the originality of the data and assigns an accession number to the sequence and performs quality assurance checks. The submissions are then released to the public database, where the entries are retrievable by Entrez or downloadable by FTP. Bulk submissions of Expressed Sequence Tag (EST), Sequence-tagged site (STS), Genome Survey Sequence (GSS), and High-Throughput Genome Sequence (HTGS) data are most often submitted by large-scale sequencing centers. The GenBank direct submissions group also processes complete microbial genome sequences.


Walter Goad of the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory and others established the Los Alamos Sequence Database in 1979, which culminated in 1982 with the creation of the public GenBank.[4] Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. LANL collaborated on GenBank with the firm Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, and by the end of 1983 more than 2,000 sequences were stored in it.

In the mid 1980s, the Intelligenetics bioinformatics company at Stanford University managed the GenBank project in collaboration with LANL.[5] As one of the earliest bioinformatics community projects on the Internet, the GenBank project started BIOSCI/Bionet news groups for promoting open access communications among bioscientists. During 1989 to 1992, the GenBank project transitioned to the newly created National Center for Biotechnology Information.[6]

Genbank and EMBL: NucleotideSequences 1986/1987 Volumes I to VII.
CDRom of Genbank v100


Growth in GenBank base pairs, 1982 to 2007, on a semi-log scale

The GenBank release notes for release 162.0 (October 2007) state that "from 1982 to the present, the number of bases in GenBank has doubled approximately every 18 months".[3] [7]

As of 15 August 2015, GenBank release 209.0 has 187,066,846 loci, 199,823,644,287 bases, from 187,066,846 reported sequences.[3]

The GenBank database includes additional data sets that are constructed mechanically from the main sequence data collection, and therefore are excluded from this count.

Top organisms in GenBank (Release 191)[8]
Organism base pairs
Homo sapiens 16,310,774,187
Mus musculus 9,974,977,889
Rattus norvegicus 6,521,253,272
Bos taurus 5,386,258,455
Zea mays 5,062,731,057
Sus scrofa 4,887,861,860
Danio rerio 3,120,857,462
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus 1,435,236,534
Macaca mulatta 1,256,203,101
Oryza sativa Japonica Group 1,255,686,573
Nicotiana tabacum 1,197,357,811
Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis 1,249,938,611
Drosophila melanogaster 1,119,965,220
Pan troglodytes 1,008,323,292
Arabidopsis thaliana 1,144,226,616
Canis lupus familiaris 951,238,343
Vitis vinifera 999,010,073
Gallus gallus 899,631,338
Glycine max 906,638,854
Triticum aestivum 898,689,329

Incomplete identifications

Public databases, such as GenBank, which may be searched using the National Center for Biotechnology Information Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (NCBI BLAST), lack peer-reviewed sequences of type strains and sequences of non-type strains. On the other hand, while commercial databases potentially contain high-quality filtered sequence data, there are a limited number of reference sequences.

A paper released in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology[9] evaluated the 16S rRNA gene sequencing results analyzed with GenBank in conjunction with other freely available, quality-controlled, web-based public databases, such as the EzTaxon-e ( and the BIBI ( databases. The results showed that analyses performed using GenBank combined with EzTaxon-e (kappa = 0.79) were more discriminative than using GenBank (kappa = 0.66) or other databases alone.

See also


  1. ^ Benson D; Karsch-Mizrachi, I.; Lipman, D. J.; Ostell, J.; Wheeler, D. L.; et al. (2008). "GenBank". Nucleic Acids Research 36 (Database): D25–D30.  
  2. ^ Benson D; Karsch-Mizrachi, I.; Lipman, D. J.; Ostell, J.; Sayers, E. W.; et al. (2009). "GenBank". Nucleic Acids Research 37 (Database): D26–D31.  
  3. ^ a b c "GenBank release notes". NCBI. 
  4. ^ Hanson, Todd (2000-11-21). "Walter Goad, GenBank founder, dies". Newsbulletin: obituary. Los Alamos National Laboratory. 
  5. ^ LANL GenBank History
  6. ^ Benton D (1990). "Recent changes in the GenBank On-line Service". Nucleic Acids Research 18 (6): 1517–1520.  
  7. ^ Benson, D. A.; Cavanaugh, M.; Clark, K.; Karsch-Mizrachi, I.; Lipman, D. J.; Ostell, J.; Sayers, E. W. (2012). "GenBank". Nucleic Acids Research 41 (Database issue): D36–D42.  
  8. ^ Benson DA, Karsch-Mizrachi I, Lipman DJ, Ostell J, Sayers EW (January 2011). "GenBank". Nucleic Acids Res. 39 (Database issue): D32–37.  
  9. ^ Kyung Sun Parka, Chang-Seok Kia, Cheol-In Kangb, Yae-Jean Kimc, Doo Ryeon Chungb, Kyong Ran Peckb, Jae-Hoon Songb and Nam Yong Lee (2012) J. Clin. Microbiol. May 2012 vol. 50 no. 5 1792-1795 Evaluation of the GenBank, EzTaxon, and BIBI Services for Molecular Identification of Clinical Blood Culture Isolates That Were Unidentifiable or Misidentified by Conventional Methods

External links

  • GenBank
  • Example sequence record, for hemoglobin beta
  • BankIt
  • Sequin — a stand-alone software tool developed by the NCBI for submitting and updating entries to the GenBank sequence database.
  • EMBOSS — free, open source software for molecular biology
  • GenBank, RefSeq, TPA and UniProt: What's in a Name?
  • GenBank File-Format Converter
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