Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, May-June 1995; 7(1)
Two workshops have been held entitled Interconnection of Molecular Biology Databases. The first was at Stanford University on August 9-12, 1994, with a 1995 follow-up on July 20-22 in Cambridge, England. Several workshop-related documents are available now via WWW (http://www.ai.sri.com/~pkarp/mimbd.html). These include the 1994 final report; attendee abstracts and contact information; bibliography on database interoperation; summary of biological databases and WWW pointers; and a list of presentations for the 1995 conference.
Some 55 bioinformatics researchers, computer scientists, and biologists from 9 countries attended the 1994 meeting, which surveyed the roughly 100 existing databases and requirements for integrating the diverse information they contain. Computer scientists presented an overview on the need for database interoperation and suggested techniques for solving the problem. Participants described a wide range of approaches that are presently generating practical results, such as systems allowing multidatabase queries to the sequence databases, Genome Data Base, and Protein Data Bank. These systems and approaches vary according to their capability to handle complex queries, implementation difficulty, required user expertise, and scalability.
The workshop identified a number of barriers to interoperation, including resistance to standards, database inaccessibility to structured query via Internet, and inadequate documentation of many databases. Attendees felt, however, that interoperation is proceeding at a rapid pace and will soon enable researchers to answer questions that are laborious or impossible today.
[Peter Karp, SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center (firstname.lastname@example.org)]
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