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Web report

A one-step source for information about human genes

Melanie Nelson

  • Correspondence: Melanie Nelson

Author Affiliations

Genome Biology 2000, 1:reports2049  doi:10.1186/gb-2000-1-3-reports2049

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://genomebiology.com/2000/1/3/reports/2049


Received:15 July 2000
Published:18 September 2000

© 2000 BioMed Central Ltd

Content

The GeneCards website provides a convenient and integrated interface to a variety of information about human genes. The GeneCards are individual pages for each gene in the collection (there are currently more than 10,000). The information for each gene card was automatically extracted from many other resources, listed on the About the GeneCards project page. Information typically includes links to the protein and nucleotide sequences for the gene, its functions, its involvement in any human diseases, and links to information about similar genes in other species. A section on each GeneCard provides links to other web resources about the gene.

Navigation

There is a very good search interface, which includes advanced features such as a spelling checker to help users locate the information they want. The search results page displays a 'minicard' for each matching page, making it easier for the user to determine which GeneCard is most relevant. The site makes good use of internal hyperlinks to provide the user with background information on the project, such as a description of how the information at the site is gathered. There is no interface for browsing, as distinct from searching, although there is a special search feature to help users locate information about disease genes.

Reporter's comments

Timeliness

The site is updated via versioned releases. The most recent release is version 2.16, dated 13 July 2000.

Best feature

The concise summary of information from a variety of resources, in combination with extensive links to the original resources.

Worst feature

Occasionally information on some GeneCards is incomplete. For instance, the protein information is missing for some genes, even though there are SWISS-PROT entries for the appropriate proteins. An example of this is calmodulin (CALM1).

Wish list

It would be useful to be able to follow a link from each GeneCard to a listing of related genes also covered by the site.

Related websites

OMIM also provides information about human disease genes, but in a more narrative format.

Table of links

Assumptions made about all sites unless otherwise specified:
The site is free, in English and no registration is required. It is relatively quick to download, can be navigated by an 'intermediate' user, and no problems with connection were found. The site does not stipulate that any particular browser be used and no special software/plug-ins are required to view the site. There are relatively few gratuitous images and each page has its own URL, allowing it to be bookmarked.