NLM Webinar series: “Insider’s Guide to Accessing NLM Data: EDirect for PubMed”


Beginning February 21, 2017, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) will present the three-part webinar series “Insider’s Guide to Accessing NLM Data: EDirect for PubMed.”

This series of workshops will introduce new users to the basics of using EDirect to access exactly the PubMed data you need, in the format you need. Over the course of three 90-minute sessions, students will learn how to use EDirect commands in a Unix environment to access PubMed, design custom output formats, create basic data pipelines to get data quickly and efficiently, and develop simple strategies for solving real-world PubMed data-gathering challenges. No prior Unix knowledge is required; novice users are welcome!

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SmartBLAST updated to provide more information, database matches


The SmartBLAST service has recently been updated to emphasize matches to the landmark database, which comprises the proteomes from 26 well-curated genomic assemblies. The display also now presents more information about conserved domains and details about the query.

SmartBLAST quickly finds the closest relatives to a protein query and evaluates the phylogenetic relationship among the query and matched sequences. You can start a SmartBLAST search from the SmartBLAST page or the BLAST home page. Read more about SmartBLAST on NCBI Insights.

New Web Services for Comparing and Grouping Sequence Variants


This blog post is intended for geneticists and dataflow engineers who need to compare genetic variants.

Have you ever tried to determine if two genetic variants are the same? If so, you’re not alone. There are competing ways to represent variants, handling ambiguous assignments, as well as reconciling updates to underlying sequence models. To help you with these problems, we’re introducing a new set of web services for comparing and grouping variants.

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Visualize and Interpret Alignment Data with the Multiple Sequence Alignment Viewer


The NCBI Multiple Sequence Alignment Viewer (MSAV) is a versatile web application that helps you visualize and interpret MSAs for both nucleotide and amino acid sequences. You can display alignment data from many sources, and the viewer is easily embedded into your own web pages with customizable options. An even simpler way to use MSAV is to use our page, upload your data, and share the link to a fully functional viewer displaying your results.

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Introducing Magic-BLAST


Magic-BLAST is a new tool for mapping large sets of next-generation RNA or DNA sequencing runs against a whole genome or transcriptome. Magic-BLAST executables for LINUX, MacOSX, and Windows as well as the source files are available on the FTP site.

Each alignment optimizes a composite score, taking into account simultaneously the two reads of a pair, and in case of RNA-Seq, locating the candidate introns and adding up the score of all exons. Sequencing reads can be provided as NCBI SRA accessions, FASTA or SRA files.

Magic-BLAST implements ideas developed in the NCBI Magic pipeline using the NCBI BLAST libraries. Magic-BLAST is under active development, and we expect the next few releases to occur on a monthly basis. Read more about Magic BLAST on the FTP site.

NCBI Begins HTTPS Tests


You may have heard that NCBI, along with the rest of the Federal Government, is switching to HTTPS-only access. To help prepare for this, NCBI is beginning a series of tests. During these tests, all traffic to NCBI will be redirected from HTTP to HTTPS to simulate our system’s behavior once the HTTPS transition is complete.

The first test will be Thursday, September 15, from 8:00-9:00 AM EDT.

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The Future of Existing GI Numbers at NCBI


NCBI has announced that we will be changing the way we handle GI numbers for sequence records in September 2016. (Read more, in case you missed it).

In this post, we’ll address a key question:

What is the future of existing GI numbers?

The short answer is that nothing is happening to these GI numbers.

If a nucleotide or protein record already has a GI, it will continue to have that GI indefinitely. You will also be able to retrieve such a record using its GI either on the NCBI web site or using the E-utilities.

Moreover, GIs will remain part of the XML and ASN.1 formats of sequence records.

If not GIs, then what?

Accession.version identifiers. All sequence records, both new and old, will have a unique accession.version identifier.

Existing records will keep the accessions they already have; new sequences will only receive an accession.version identifier.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Two things:

Stay tuned for additional posts about this topic, and please contact us if you have questions.

Fast Sequence Inspection with ORFfinder + SmartBLAST


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This blog post is intended for all BLAST users.

ORFfinder is a graphical analysis tool for finding open reading frames (ORFs). We’ve been working on a few updates, and we’d like to find out what you think about them. Read on to find out what you can do with the new ORFfinder.

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Streptococcus pyogenes “A to Zs” Covered in New Book, Freely Available on NCBI Bookshelf


The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has published an open-access book called “Streptococcus pyogenes: Basic Biology to Clinical Manifestations” that provides a comprehensive review of research on the bacteria. The university’s first online, open-access book, “Streptococcus pyogenes” is freely available on NCBI’s Bookshelf, at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK333424/.
S.pyogenes Book on the NCBI Bookshelf

Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus) is responsible for diseases such as scarlet fever, pharyngitis, impetigo, cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome, as well as the sequelae of rheumatic fever and acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. The book aims to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive review of research on Streptococcus pyogenes, including its basic biology, epidemiology, genetics and pathways that facilitate group A streptococcal infections. Continue reading