Biomax launches new human genome database

Biomax Informatics has launched a human genome database that is both automatically and manually annotated.

Biomax Informatics has launched a human genome database that is both automatically and manually annotated.

The database, aimed at life scientists, contains comprehensive automatic annotation as well as the results of extensive and consistent manual annotation performed by around 30 Biomax biologists, company spokesman Stephen Soehnlen said.

Annotation is essentially the identification of putative protein structure and function along with other important genome information.

"One of the key advantages of our database compared, say, to the public human genome database Golden Path is that ours offers both automatic and manual annotation," he said. "We have our own staff of biologists manually check data to refine or add information."

Another advantage, particularly when compared to the rival database of the Celera Genomics Group, is price, Soehnlen said. "With Celera, you're talking at least $10,000 (£6,381) a year to licence the database," he said. "Ours costs as little as $500 a year for academics and $1,500 a year for institutions." Celera Genomics Group is an operating unit of Applera.

What further differentiates the Biomax database from rivals, Soehnlen said, is that it "offers scientists the possibility to find all the information in one place without having to go to other databases".

The Biomax human genome database uses publicly available sequence data. The genes are identified automatically with the FGENESH++ gene modelling software developed by Softberry in New York. Biomax has an exclusive commercial licence for the software.

Each gene is verified by Biomax biologists using a systematic process of manual annotation, which includes refining functional information and adding literature references and other details not covered by the automatic annotation software.

The Biomax human genome database is a client-server system, which users can easily and securely access via the Internet from Biomax servers or as a locally-installed enterprise system allowing organisation-wide access.

Biomax Informatics, based in Martinsried, Germany, was founded in 1997 as a spin-off of the GSF-MIPS academic research group, now known as the German Research Center for Environment and Health-Institute for Bioinformatics (GSF-IBI).

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