Making Custom Databases for Web BLAST


An easy way to speed up your BLAST analysis is to search a smaller database targeted to sequences of interest. We’ll describe here a few ways to create such custom databases on the BLAST web pages.  For this Quick Tip we’ll use the pages in the Basic BLAST section of the BLAST home page.

BLAST parent databases

Generating a custom database begins with selecting the appropriate parent database. The BLAST Guide provides database descriptions to help with choosing a database.  You select the parent in the Database pull-down menu, shown in Figure 1. Selecting the database is really your first opportunity to customize.

BLAST Parent Database Pull-down Menu

Figure 1. The database selection pull-down lists: top panel, nucleotide databases; bottom panel, protein databases

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Setting Up Automatic NCBI Searches and New Record Alerts


Do you regularly perform PubMed searches to find new articles on your topic of interest?

Would you like to know when new sequence records become available for your gene?

Is it important to be alerted when new bioactivity assays are available with inhibitor data for your enzyme?

With a free My NCBI account, you can easily set up a series of e-mail alerts to notify you of such new information. You can read more about the many other functions of My NCBI.

Here’s how to set up these alerts:

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NCBI’s 25th Anniversary and The Jim Gray eScience Award


November 2013 marks 25 years since the founding of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Cardin Congressional Record Statement

In honor of NCBI’s 25th anniversary, United States Senator Ben Cardin read a statement into the Congressional Record recognizing years of service in providing access to biomedical and genomic information to enhance the world’s science and health.

On November 1st an awards and recognition program was held on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland to commemorate this occasion.

Presentation of the Jim Gray eScience Award

Tony Hey, Ph.D., Vice President of Microsoft Research, presenting the Jim Gray eScience award to David Lipman, M.D., Director of the NCBI.

At this event, Tony Hey, PhD, Vice President of Microsoft Research, presented NCBI Director David Lipman, MD, with the Jim Gray eScience Award which recognizes researchers who have made outstanding contributions to the field of data-intensive computing in the pursuit of open, supportive, and collaborative research models. Continue reading

Early Developments in the PubMed Commons Pilot


It’s been an exciting and productive time since the PubMed Commons beta launch. We’ve learned a great deal, both here working under the hood and from the conversations in social media and blog posts.

We are working on answers to questions that people are asking, via our Twitter account and by revising and expanding information on the PubMed Commons page soon. And we will try out a Twitter chat: so keep your eye out on @PubMedCommons for the announcement.

There are now about 1,000 people signed up in the Commons. Remember, any author in PubMed can join, from anywhere in the world. Check out our step-by-step guide. Once you are in, you can invite others. So please spread the word!

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