annotating EST sequence information with BLAST search output

Sean Eddy eddy at
Mon Feb 9 08:46:31 EST 1998

francis at BORDUAS.NLM.NIH.GOV (Francis Ouellette) writes:
> Why would one one to annotate any record with information
> which will be out of date the day it is printed?
> I think we would want to discourage such annotations.

That's a valid point. But on the other hand, in many cases, the
annotation is useful, and much of the information does not go out of

For example, if an EST has a 100% identity hit to a known gene, that
information is not going to change. 

A less clear case, but also useful: if an EST shows a blastx hit
against a well-known protein family (say, a transcription factor
family), that's also useful information, even if we don't know yet
exactly what gene the EST corresponds to.

> If you want to see what the record is related to, see the
> blast similarity which are computed in dbEST or in the related
> sequences to a record present in Entrez.  Loooking at 
> annotations which will never be updated is missleading,
> and uninformative.

That's too strong a position to take, I think. Scanning EST
description lines is far, far faster than clicking through to see a
whole dbEST record for each EST. Description lines should contain our
"best effort" to give a short description of the EST.

It's a user education problem to make sure people realize that those
description lines are bound to be outdated, and that they may be
misleading. But "uninformative" they're not, in my opinion.

- Sean

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