The NCBI Bookshelf offers resources related to opioid crisis 


By now, the opioid epidemic is a familiar topic to many Americans. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “every day, more than 115 American die after overdosing on opioids.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to the fight against opioid misuse and addiction. In a May 2017 address, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow outlined research priorities for ending the opioid crisis, such as finding new ways to treat opioid addiction and improving overdose prevention and reversal. The NCBI Bookshelf, an archive of books and documents in life science and healthcare, offers a variety of resources related to enacting such solutions.

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June 27 NCBI Minute: dbGaP’s New Ancestry Composition Visualization tool and GRAF Software


Next Wednesday, June 27, 2018, we’ll introduce you to the Genetic Relationship and Fingerprinting (GRAF) software package. GRAF is a quality assurance tool that finds duplicates and closely related subjects in your data using SNP genotypes. We’ll also introduce the GRAF-pop feature, which computes subject ancestries and plots data for export as a .png or .txt file.

Date and time: Wed, June 27 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT

Register here: https://bit.ly/2LjCaML

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about attending the webinar. A few days after the live presentation, you can view the recording on the NCBI YouTube channel. You can learn about future webinars on the Webinars and Courses page.

April and May annotations in RefSeq: cow, bonobo and more


In April and May, the NCBI Eukaryotic Genome Annotation Pipeline released new annotations in RefSeq for the following organisms:

  • Bos taurus (cattle)
  • Cephus cinctus (wheat stem sawfly)
  • Citrus sinensis (sweet orange)
  • Cynara cardunculus cardunculus (eudicot)
  • Cynoglossus semilaevis (tongue sole)
  • Gallus gallus (chicken)
  • Kryptolebias marmoratus (mangrove rivulus)
  • Macaca nemestrina (pig-tailed macaque)
  • Maylandia zebra (zebra mbuna)
  • Medicago truncatula (barrel medic)
  • Pan paniscus (pygmy chimpanzee)
  • Pteropus alecto (black flying fox)
  • Python bivittatus (Burmese python)
  • Ricinus communis (castor bean)
  • Temnothorax curvispinosus (ant)
  • Tetranychus urticae (two-spotted spider mite)
  • Ziziphus jujuba (common jujube)

See more details on the Eukaryotic RefSeq Genome Annotation Status page.

Improvements made to genomes FTP site


We’ve been making improvements to the contents of NCBI’s genomes FTP site. Highlights include:

  • addition of new file types, including a feature_count.txt file with counts of gene, RNA, and CDS features of specific types and a translated_cds.faa file with conceptual translations of each CDS feature on the genome
  • improvements to the Sequence Ontology feature types used in GFF3, including identification of pseudogene gene features as “pseudogene” instead of “gene” in column 3
  • improvements to the gene_biotype calculation to categorize transcribed pseudogenes as transcribed_pseudogene instead of misc_RNA
  • addition of the #!annotation-source unofficial pragma to GFF3 files with the annotation name, for assemblies where that information is available
  • addition of an FTP directory for GenBank viral genomes that includes International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) species exemplar virus genomes and a growing number of NCBI viral neighbor genomes
  • expanded the UCSC sequence name mapping provided in the assembly report files to provide mappings between GenBank or RefSeq sequence accessions, chromosome or scaffold names, and the UCSC sequence name for most of the recent assemblies in the UCSC Genome Browser

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As-you-type-suggestions come to NCBI Labs


In a recent post, we described a new way to search our databases in NCBI Labs. We have now added a suggestions dropdown to the search bar that should make life easier for many NCBI visitors.

The as-you-type suggestions are simple, natural language-like queries we described in the previous post. They’ll help you avoid typos and save time if you’re searching for organisms with long or hard-to-spell names.

These suggestions are meant to direct you to high value results. As we improve the search experience, you may notice changes to the suggestions. We welcome your feedback on ways to enhance this new feature.

Here’s a quick look at what to expect:

dropdown suggestions ncbi labs search

Figure 1. As-you-type suggestions appear in a dropdown. Note how “human” is recognized as homo sapiens. Many common organisms are supported in this manner, e.g. “mouse”, “cow”.)

Summer 2018 NIH Data Hackathon July 23-25, 2018


From July 23rd to 25th, 2018, NCBI will host a data science hackathon on the NIH campus. This hackathon will focus on genomics as well as general Data Science analyses including text, image and sequence processing. This event is for researchers, including students and postdocs, who have already engaged in the use of large datasets or in the development of pipelines for analyses from high-throughput experiments. Some projects are available to other non-scientific developers, mathematicians, or librarians.

The event is open to anyone selected for the hackathon and willing to travel to the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

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PubMed Journals will be shut down


Almost two years ago, we launched PubMed Journals, an NCBI Labs project. PubMed Journals helped people follow the latest biomedical literature by making it easier to find and follow journals, browse new articles, and included a Journal News Feed to track new arrivals news links, trending articles and important article updates.

PubMed Journals was a successful experiment. Since September 2016, nearly 20,000 people followed 10,453 distinct journals. Each customer followed 3 journals on average.

Though PubMed Journals will no longer exist as a separate entity, we hope to add its features into future NCBI products. We appreciate your feedback over the years that made PubMed Journals a productive test of new ideas.

NCBI Labs is NCBI’s product incubator for delivering new features and capabilities to NCBI end users.

Improved annotation of Streptomyces RefSeq genomes


We’ve completed the RefSeq reannotation of over 1,000 Streptomyces genomes! The genomes were reannotated using the Prokaryotic Genome Annotation Pipeline (PGAP). PGAP detected nearly 100% of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide natural products (RiPP)-encoding genes from known families, despite their small size, using a set of over 30 hidden Markov Models (HMMs) built by RefSeq biocurators. Over 70% (251) of lasso peptides now present in Streptomyces RefSeq genomes (354) were annotated for the first time.

If you are aware of any class of RiPP precursor in Streptomyces that was not found in our recent re-annotation, please contact us through the NCBI Help Desk, and we will add new HMMs to the rules we use to find and annotate RiPP precursor genes.

Important dbSNP updates: New JSON data files, RefSNP report, API


dbSNP is moving to the new design with new products ready for testing including new JSON data files, the RefSNP page, and an API.

New JSON data files

Human Build 151 release is the last build that will provide relational database table dumps on the FTP site. Instead, dbSNP data will be available as a cumulative file of RefSNP objects in the JSON format in future build releases. These JSON files are available now for users to begin migration and testing. Tutorials for parsing JSON are on GitHub.

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5 new videos on YouTube: Get the most out of BLAST, MedGen, PubChem and more


Here are the latest videos on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to get alerts for new videos.

NCBI Minute: Getting the Most out of Web BLAST Tabular Format

The NCBI web BLAST service has several useful download formats, including tabular formats. All formats allow you to easily save your BLAST results for processing, editing, and annotating.

This video will show you how to use basic Unix tools and EDirect to expand and enhance your tabular saved BLAST results. You will also see learn how to add useful information like taxonomy and sequence titles.

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