Fast and cheap genomic sequencing has brought us an unprecedented amount of data on human DNA. But what does it mean? The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) is helping researchers and biology classrooms tackle this big question.
The ENCODE resource (which was recently described in detail in PLoS Biology) includes a large database with information about certain regions of the human genome, specific functions of genes, and RNA transcripts, among other genomic elements. There are also free software tools and algorithms for analyzing genomic data, courtesy of researchers who have contributed mightily to the international project. The National Institute of Health's National Human Genome Research Institute is funding the effort.
Perhaps there needs to be a Wikipedia or sorts for the human genome. Genomic discoveries are coming fast and furious. An open-access environment can make these discoveries widely available to researchers, and the ENCODE team consists of many leading scientists who are helping to make sure that the resource provides reliable data and tools.
- start learning more from ENCODE here