Medical Definition of Genome Database

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Genome Database: The Genome Database (GDB) is the official central repository for genomic mapping data resulting from the Human Genome Initiative. It was established at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in 1990. In 1999, the Bioinformatics Supercomputing Centre (BiSC) at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assumed the management of GDB. The Human Genome Initiative is a worldwide research effort to analyze the structure of human DNA and determine the location and sequence of the estimated 100,000 human genes. In support of this project, GDB stores and curates data generated worldwide by those researchers engaged in the mapping effort of the Human Genome Project (HGP).

GDB's mission is to make available to scientists an encyclopedia of the human genome that is being constantly revised and updated to reflect the current state of scientific knowledge. Although GDB has historically focused on gene mapping, as the Genome Project moves from mapping to sequence to functional analysis, GDB's focus will be broadened. Extensions are under development in the representation of sequence-level genome content, including DNA sequence variations, along with richer descriptions of function and phenotype.

The task of curating the content of this genomic encyclopedia and maintaining its correctness and currency is enormous. Members of the scientific community participate by submitting their data, adding annotations to existing data, and adding links from objects in GDB to related objects in other databases. GDB is, in a sense, an experiment in a new form of collaborative scientific publication, a community-curated database.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017

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