In this workshop, Dr. Rodney Brister will talk about how 41 scientists from 21 organizations worked to improve the usability of SRA data, identifying datasets that included known viruses and viral signals. Not only is that information now being integrated into a public search interface, but the approach used is also being refined in future hackathons so it can be applied to all SRA datasets.
We have a new and improved search experience for viral genes from select human pathogens. When you search for a virus such as HIV-1 (more examples below), you now get an interactive graphical representation of the viral genome where you can see all the annotated viral proteins in context. Clicking on the gene / protein objects allows you to access sequences, publications, and analysis tools for the selected protein. This new feature is designed to help you quickly find information relevant to your research on clinically important viruses.Figure 1. Top: The virus genome graphic result for a search with HIV-1 with access to analysis tools, downloads, and relevant results in the Genome and Virus resources. Bottom: The result obtained by clicking the env gene graphic, which provides links to protein and nucleotide sequences, the literature, analysis tools, and downloads.
Try it out using the following example searches and let us know what you think!
The 2018 Nucleic Acids Research database issue features several papers from NCBI staff that cover the status and future of databases including CCDS, ClinVar, GenBank and RefSeq. These papers are also available on PubMed. To read an article, click on the PMID number listed below.
BLAST is a powerful search tool, but often a search is just the beginning of the journey. We put ourselves in the shoes of a researcher who has just sequenced a handful of samples from the latest viral outbreak and tried to understand what information would be most useful. We also reached out to researchers in the field and asked: a) what questions do they really want to answer? and b) how can NCBI best provide the answers? Based on insights from those questions and answers, we developed the new Virus Sequence Search Interface (Fig. 1). The Search Interface is an NCBI Labs project, which means it is an experimental project, and we may modify the resource based on your feedback and experiences.
Figure 1. The Virus Sequence Selection Interface. The Virus Sequence Selection Interface accepts as input nucleotide and protein accessions, as well as FASTA and plain-text formatted sequences. The user selects either “Nucleotide” or “Protein,” depending on the sequence type, and selects the virus type from the pull-down menu below the text entry field.
NCBI’s Virus Variation resource makes it easy to find genome and protein sequences for a number of viruses – no more stumbling through multiple synonyms to find what you need. Now you can search using standardized biological criteria and intuitive pull-down menus.
Nearly complete set of translation-related genes lends support to hypothesis that giant viruses evolved from smaller viruses
An international team of researchers, including NCBI’s Eugene Koonin and Natalya Yutin, has discovered a novel group of giant viruses (dubbed “Klosneuviruses”) with a more complete set of translation machinery genes than any virus that has been described to date. “This discovery significantly expands our understanding of viral evolution,” said Koonin. “These are the most ‘cell-like’ viruses ever identified. However, the computational analysis of the virus genomes shows that these viruses have not evolved from cells by reductive evolution but rather have evolved from smaller viruses, gradually acquiring genes from their hosts at different stages of their evolution.”