The proliferation of data from genome sequencing over the past decade has brought us into an era where the volume of information available would overwhelm an individual researcher, especially one who is not computationally oriented. The need to make the bare DNA sequence, its properties, and the associated annotations more accessible is the genesis of the class of bioinformatics tools known as genome browsers. Genome browsers provide access to large amounts of sequence data via a graphical user interface. They use a visual, high-level overview of complex data in a form that can be grasped at a glance and provide the means to explore the data in increasing resolution from megabase scales down to the level of individual elements of the DNA sequence. While a user may start browsing for a particular gene, the user interface will display the area of the genome containing the gene, along with a broader context of other information available in the region of the chromosome occupied by the gene. This information is shown in “tracks,” with each track showing either the genomic sequence from a particular species or a particular kind of annotation on the gene. The tracks are aligned so that the information about a particular base in the sequence is lined up and can be viewed easily. In modern browsers, the abundance of contextual information linked to a genomic region not only helps to satisfy the most directed search, but also makes available a depth of content that facilitates integration of knowledge about genes, gene expression, regulatory sequences, sequence conservation between species, and many other classes of data.
Genome Browser European Molecular Biology Laboratory Distribute Annotation System Zoom Level Custom Track
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