NET NEWS: Calling All Microarray Data

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Science  04 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5480, pp. 691
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5480.691c

Researchers who've joined the stampede to use glass chips dotted with specks of genes to study how cells work now have a place to share their growing piles of data. Last week, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) rolled out a new Web database that will archive results from DNA microarrays and other hot lab tools for seeing the expression of thousands of genes at once.

The Gene Expression Omnibus, or GEO, will store data from any type of gene expression test, including both manufactured and homemade chips, for free. Scientists log in, describe the test type, and post results—tables showing gene expression levels—and reference images of their arrays. GEO will also archive results from a series of tests, such as the dose-response relationship of a toxin. You can't do much of a search just yet, as the first stage is simply to build a stash of data. But within a few months, “you'll be able to query in different ways,” says NCBI's Alex Lash. He hopes that, as with the GenBank gene database, people will eventually submit even data they don't necessarily plan to publish.

Several other public microarray databases are also in the works, for example at the U.K.'s European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For links to these efforts and many other microarray resources, see this EBI page.

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