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.”