Greetings GenBank Users,
GenBank Release 183.0 is now available via FTP from the National
Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):
Ftp Site Directory Contents
---------------- --------- ---------------------------------------
ftp.ncbi.nih.gov genbank GenBank Release 183.0 flatfiles
ncbi-asn1 ASN.1 data used to create Release 183.0
Close-of-data for GenBank 183.0 occurred on 04/11/2011. Uncompressed,
the Release 183.0 flatfiles require roughly 489 GB (sequence files only)
or 530 GB (including the 'short directory', 'index' and the *.txt
files). The ASN.1 data require approximately 402 GB.
Recent statistics for non-WGS, non-CON sequences:
Release Date Base Pairs Entries
182 Feb 2011 124277818310 132015054
183 Apr 2011 126551501141 135440924
Recent statistics for WGS sequences:
Release Date Base Pairs Entries
182 Feb 2011 190034462797 62349795
183 Apr 2011 191401393188 62715288
During the 56 days between the close dates for GenBank Releases 182.0
and 183.0, the non-WGS/non-CON portion of GenBank grew by 2,273,682,831
basepairs and by 3,425,870 sequence records. During that same period,
8,036,287 records were updated. An average of 204,681 non-WGS/non-CON
records were added and/or updated per day.
Between releases 182.0 and 183.0, the WGS component of GenBank grew by
1,366,930,391 basepairs and by 365,493 sequence records.
For additional release information, see the README files in either of
the directories mentioned above, and the release notes (gbrel.txt) in
the genbank directory. Sections 1.3 and 1.4 of the release notes
(Changes in Release 183.0 and Upcoming Changes) have been appended
below for your convenience.
** Important Notes **
* GenBank 'index' files are now provided without any EST content, and
without most GSS content. See Section 1.3.3 of the release notes for
NCBI is considering ceasing support for the index files, so we
encourage affected users to review that section and provide feedback.
Release 183.0 data, and subsequent updates, are available now via
NCBI's Entrez and Blast services.
As a general guideline, we suggest first transferring the GenBank
release notes (gbrel.txt) whenever a release is being obtained. Check
to make sure that the date and release number in the header of the
release notes are current (eg: February 15 2011, 183.0). If they are
not, interrupt the remaining transfers and then request assistance from
the NCBI Service Desk.
A comprehensive check of the headers of all release files after your
transfers are complete is also suggested. Here's how one might go about
this on a Unix or Linux platform, using csh/tcsh :
set files = `ls gb*.*`
foreach i ($files)
head -10 $i | grep Release
Or, if the files are compressed, perhaps:
gzcat $i | head -10 | grep Release
If you encounter problems while ftp'ing or uncompressing Release
183.0, please send email outlining your difficulties to:
info from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Mark Cavanaugh, Michael Kimelman, Ilya Dondoshansky, Sergey Zhdanov
1.3 Important Changes in Release 183.0
1.3.1 Organizational changes
The total number of sequence data files increased by 30 with this release:
- the BCT division is now composed of 68 files (+3)
- the ENV division is now composed of 41 files (+1)
- the EST division is now composed of 435 files (+2)
- the GSS division is now composed of 237 files (+10)
- the INV division is now composed of 29 files (+3)
- the PAT division is now composed of 141 files (+1)
- the PLN division is now composed of 46 files (+2)
- the TSA division is now composed of 22 files (+6)
- the VRL division is now composed of 17 files (+1)
- the VRT division is now composed of 23 files (+1)
The total number of 'index' files increased by 13 with this release:
- the AUT (author name) index is now composed of 108 files (+13)
1.3.2 Changes in the content of index files
As described in the GB 153 release notes, the 'index' files which accompany
GenBank releases (see Section 3.3) are considered to be a legacy data product by
NCBI, generated mostly for historical reasons. FTP statistics from January 2005
seemed to support this: the index files were transferred only half as frequently as
the files of sequence records. The inherent inefficiencies of the index file
format also lead us to suspect that they have little serious use by the user
community, particularly for EST and GSS records.
The software that generated the index file products received little
attention over the years, and finally reached its limitations in
February 2006 (Release 152.0). The required multi-server queries which
obtained and sorted many millions of rows of terms from several different
databases simply outgrew the capacity of the hardware used for GenBank
Our short-term solution is to cease generating some index-file content
for all EST sequence records, and for GSS sequence records that originate
via direct submission to NCBI.
The three gbacc*.idx index files continue to reflect the entirety of the
release, including all EST and GSS records, however the file contents are
These 'solutions' are really just stop-gaps, and we will likely pursue
one of two options:
a) Cease support of the 'index' file products altogether.
b) Provide new products that present some of the most useful data from
the legacy 'index' files, and cease support for other types of index data.
If you are a user of the 'index' files associated with GenBank releases, we
encourage you to make your wishes known, either via the GenBank newsgroup,
or via email to NCBI's Service Desk:
info from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Our apologies for any inconvenience that these changes may cause.
1.3.3 GSS File Header Problem
GSS sequences at GenBank are maintained in two different systems, depending
on their origin, and the dumps from those systems occur in parallel. Because
the second dump (for example) has no prior knowledge of exactly how many GSS
files will be dumped by the first, it does not know how to number its own
There is thus a discrepancy between the filenames and file headers for
101 of the GSS flatfiles in Release 183.0. Consider gbgss137.seq :
GBGSS1.SEQ Genetic Sequence Data Bank
April 15 2011
NCBI-GenBank Flat File Release 183.0
GSS Sequences (Part 1)
87128 loci, 64051394 bases, from 87128 reported sequences
Here, the filename and part number in the header is "1", though the file
has been renamed as "137" based on the number of files dumped from the other
system. We hope to resolve this discrepancy at some point, but the priority
is certainly much lower than many other tasks.
1.4 Upcoming Changes
A variety of changes affecting the GenBank flatfile format were implemented
in October 2010, as a result of discussions among DDBJ, EBI, and NCBI at the
May 2010 International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration annual
However, three of the planned changes could not be completed for the
October 15 GenBank 180.0 release:
a) The /partial qualifier will be discontinued, given that 5' and 3'
partiality can be indicated via a feature's location ('<' and '>').
b) A classification system will be introduced for the /inference and
/experiment qualifiers, such that the inferential or experimental
information can be associated with a feature's existence, location,
c) A /whole_replicon qualifier will be introduced, allowing records
which represent the entirety of a replicon (a chromosome; an organelle;
a mitochondrial plasmid) to be identified as such.
An investigation of (a) for older sequence records has thrown into question
whether the /partial qualifier can actually be done away with. On-going
review will determine whether this change will be implemented as agreed,
amended, or abandoned.
The implementation of (b) has been delayed because of delays in software
development supporting the new classification system. We do not expect to
be able to deploy the new /inference and /experiment qualifiers until at
least February 2011.
Specification of the conditions under which the /whole_replicon qualifier
is, and is not, allowed to be used for sequence records is not yet complete,
so implementation of (c) has likewise been delayed.
We will inform GenBank users when the issues impacting these three changes
have been clarified.