Finding the relevant database is not always easy, and for some years Nucleic Acids Research has dedicated its first issue of the year to information about the most important existing databases. This freely available short article by AD Baxevanis serves as an introduction to the rest of the articles in the issue, each of which deals with individual databases in greater detail (full access to subscribers to Nucleic Acids Research only), and provides links to all the databases listed. It includes more than 200 online databases that are related to molecular biology, ranging from sequence repositories such as GenBank and the EMBL nucleotide sequence database to highly specialized databases on tissue-specific gene expression data or metabolic pathways, and thus becomes a central point for access to different databases. These are arranged into 18 categories, the largest being protein, mutation, genome, structure, and RNA sequences. Other categories include gene expression, gene identification and structure, protein sequence motifs, varied biomedical content, metabolic pathways and cellular regulation, genetic maps, major sequence repositories, pathology, comparative genomics, proteome resources, intermolecular interactions, retrieval systems and database structure, and transgenics.
Navigation is extremely easy. The database listings are arranged in two tables: one for categories and the other for individual databases.
The comprehensive and categorized list of different sorts of databases.
The main drawback is that there is no review of developments in the field. For example, it would have been interesting to know which databases are new, which areas have seen the greatest increase in the number of databases, and the recent change in size of some of the more important sequence repositories.
A number of other sites have links to some of the databases presented here (and to other resources); see, for example, the Computational biology or bioinformatics references from the Bioinformatics group at the University of California or Amos Bairoch's compilation of proteins and associated topics, which is very thorough.