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1.  Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN): a community resource for bioinformatics trainers 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2011;13(3):383-389.
Funding bodies are increasingly recognizing the need to provide graduates and researchers with access to short intensive courses in a variety of disciplines, in order both to improve the general skills base and to provide solid foundations on which researchers may build their careers. In response to the development of ‘high-throughput biology’, the need for training in the field of bioinformatics, in particular, is seeing a resurgence: it has been defined as a key priority by many Institutions and research programmes and is now an important component of many grant proposals. Nevertheless, when it comes to planning and preparing to meet such training needs, tension arises between the reward structures that predominate in the scientific community which compel individuals to publish or perish, and the time that must be devoted to the design, delivery and maintenance of high-quality training materials. Conversely, there is much relevant teaching material and training expertise available worldwide that, were it properly organized, could be exploited by anyone who needs to provide training or needs to set up a new course. To do this, however, the materials would have to be centralized in a database and clearly tagged in relation to target audiences, learning objectives, etc. Ideally, they would also be peer reviewed, and easily and efficiently accessible for downloading. Here, we present the Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN), a new enterprise that has been initiated to address these needs and review it, respectively, to similar initiatives and collections.
doi:10.1093/bib/bbr064
PMCID: PMC3357490  PMID: 22110242
Bioinformatics; training; end users; bioinformatics courses; learning bioinformatics
2.  PomBase: a comprehensive online resource for fission yeast 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(D1):D695-D699.
PomBase (www.pombase.org) is a new model organism database established to provide access to comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date molecular data and biological information for the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to effectively support both exploratory and hypothesis-driven research. PomBase encompasses annotation of genomic sequence and features, comprehensive manual literature curation and genome-wide data sets, and supports sophisticated user-defined queries. The implementation of PomBase integrates a Chado relational database that houses manually curated data with Ensembl software that supports sequence-based annotation and web access. PomBase will provide user-friendly tools to promote curation by experts within the fission yeast community. This will make a key contribution to shaping its content and ensuring its comprehensiveness and long-term relevance.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkr853
PMCID: PMC3245111  PMID: 22039153
3.  Locus Reference Genomic sequences: an improved basis for describing human DNA variants 
Genome Medicine  2010;2(4):24.
As our knowledge of the complexity of gene architecture grows, and we increase our understanding of the subtleties of gene expression, the process of accurately describing disease-causing gene variants has become increasingly problematic. In part, this is due to current reference DNA sequence formats that do not fully meet present needs. Here we present the Locus Reference Genomic (LRG) sequence format, which has been designed for the specific purpose of gene variant reporting. The format builds on the successful National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) RefSeqGene project and provides a single-file record containing a uniquely stable reference DNA sequence along with all relevant transcript and protein sequences essential to the description of gene variants. In principle, LRGs can be created for any organism, not just human. In addition, we recognize the need to respect legacy numbering systems for exons and amino acids and the LRG format takes account of these. We hope that widespread adoption of LRGs - which will be created and maintained by the NCBI and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) - along with consistent use of the Human Genome Variation Society (HGVS)-approved variant nomenclature will reduce errors in the reporting of variants in the literature and improve communication about variants affecting human health. Further information can be found on the LRG web site: http://www.lrg-sequence.org.
doi:10.1186/gm145
PMCID: PMC2873802  PMID: 20398331

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