GeneCards: a new database integrating info about biomedical aspects of genes and their products

Michael Rebhan lvrebhan at bioinformatics.weizmann.ac.il
Wed Dec 18 23:34:04 EST 1996


WWW Site: http://bioinfo.weizmann.ac.il/cards/

Although it will take some years until the human genome is totally
sequenced, and still a much longer time to learn about the
functions of the products of those genes, the complex organization and
the
vast amount of biomedical information
already accessible often cause certain problems that are somehow
connected
to the phenomenon of "information
overflow" and the often very time-consuming process of information
retrieval or mining. Thus, many scientists feel that
new approaches to organize scientific information are urgently needed. 

GeneCards is a database that intends to address some of these problems
by
integrating biomedical information taken
from several sources (GDB, MGD, OMIM, SWISS-PROT, HGMD, Doctor's Guide
to
the Internet), and by presenting them
in a way facilitating a quick overview of the cellular functions, the
loci, important homologous genes and certain medical
aspects of human genes. Most of the associated work is done
automatically
by a script written in PERL that connects to
these databases, requests data, processes them, and selects defined
items
that are subsequently prepared for being
included in the GeneCards database. Because there are always a few cases
left where the script cannot judge the
information received, ambiguous cases recognized by the script are
presented to the editor of the database. After this
check, which usually takes several hours for about 1000 new GeneCards,
the
new entries are added to the GeneCards
database for public usage. 

The resulting GeneCards not only contain extracts of the data found in
other databases, but also provide direct links to the
respective entries in them, and the possibility to search one of the
biggest search engines on the web (namely HotBot) for
the home pages of researchers and any other kind of information related
to
the gene and its products, or to the diseases that
are associated with mutations in the concerned gene, by a single
mouseclick. 

Thus, we hope that this service will help biomedical researchers and
other
people interested in detailed biomedical data to
find the information they want as fast as possible. In addition, we
would
like to offer our assistance to people interested in
building similar databases for other types of information.




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