The Human Gene Nomenclature Database (Genew) was developed in the 1980s by the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) as a private (off-line) database of information relevant to gene symbol assignment. The HGNC, formed in the 1970s, is the authority responsible for assigning consistent, standardized human gene nomenclature (1
), which is vital for the interoperability of databases. Nomenclature committees were established for both the human and mouse genes, and guidelines were published in conjunction with the reports from the Human Genome Mapping meetings. The first public database containing gene nomenclature was EDIT10 (2
). However, subsequently, ‘approved’ gene nomenclature was only available online via The Genome Database (GDB) (3
), managed as part of their curation system.
The Genew database is not directly searchable on the Web, as it contains confidential and administrative information in addition to the gene symbol, name, chromosomal localization and other data. Therefore, in 1997 we made data from seven key fields within Genew available as a searchable list via the Web (http://www.gene.ucl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/nomenclature/searchgenes.pl). This online version of the database is updated weekly and now receives over 25 000 hits per month. It is possible to search it using any symbol or name and retrieve displayed information on the approved symbol, name, cytogenetic location, PubMed ID (PMID) and Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) number for each gene where this information is known. Further information is found by following the direct links to the PubMed (4
) and OMIM (4
) database web sites or by the indirect links to GDB (3
), GenAtlas (5
), GeneCards (6
) and LocusLink (7
). It is also possible to retrieve all the aliases or synonyms recorded for each gene from Genew using the list aliases search.
Gene data are collated and integrated from a variety of sources (Fig. ) including author submissions, gene family specific databases, human gene databases, the scientific literature and other organism databases, especially The Mouse Genome Database (MGD) (8
). Data are directly imported and mapped from MGD, SWISS-PROT (9
), GDB (3
) and LocusLink (7
) to our gene symbols.
Figure 1 Genew data flow diagram. Data are imported from four databases along with updates from sources such as submitting authors and reviewed literature. Public data only are exported to the main text files; those that are used by the online search engine and (more ...)