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JCSE, vol. 1, no. 1, pp.1-30, September, 2007


Genomic and Proteomic Databases: Foundations, Current Status and Future Applications

Shamkant B. Navathe Upen Patil Wei Guan
College of Computing, Georgia Institute Of Technology, USA|School of Biology/Bioinformatics Program, Georgia Institute Of Technology, USA|College of Computing, Georgia Institute Of Technology, USA

Abstract: In this paper we have provided an extensive survey of the databases and other resources related to the current research in bioinformatics and the issues that confront the database researcher in helping the biologists. Initially we give an overview of the concepts and principles that are fundamental in understanding the basis of the data that has been captured in these databases. We briefly trace the evolution of biological advances and point out the importance of capturing data about genes, the fundamental building blocks that encode the characteristics of life and proteins that are the essential ingredients for sustaining life. The study of genes and proteins is becoming extremely important and is being known as genomics and proteomics, respectively. Whereas there are numerous databases related to various subfields of biology, we have maintained a focus on genomic and proteomic databases which are the crucial stepping stones for other fields and are expected to play an important role in the future applications of biology and medicine. A detailed listing of these databases with information about their sizes, formats and current status is presented. Related databases like molecular pathways and interconnection network databases are mentioned, but their full coverage would be beyond the scope of a single paper. We comment on the peculiar nature of the data in biology that presents special problems in organizing and accessing these databases. We also discuss the capabilities needed for database development and information management in the bioinformatics arena with particular attention to ontology development. Two research case studies based on our own research are summarized dealing with the development of a new genome database called Mitomap and the creation of a framework for discovery of relationships among genes from the biomedical literature. The paper concludes with an overview of the applications that will be driven from these databases in medicine and healthcare. A glossary of important terms is provided at the end of the paper.

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