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Mapping gene expression with Gene Expression Atlas

Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute, which is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI) have launched a new database, the Gene Expression Atlas, which allows scientists to search and compare gene expression data with unprecedented detail and scope.

A.R. | 15 june 2009

Observing how gene expression varies in different cell types, tissues and under disease conditions can help researchers understand gene function and to develop new drugs and therapies.

Although most cells in an organism share the same genetic information, different cell types, for example skin and liver cells have different properties and functions, largely because different genes are active in these cells. The Gene Expression Atlas is a new database that allows users to query gene expression under a range of biological conditions, including different cell types, developmental stages, physiological states, phenotypes and disease states.

The Atlas collates data from over 1000 different independent studies, mainly microarray experiments, with more than 30,000 samples in total. This is the latest product of the EBI’s Microarray Informatics group and has its origins in the EBI’s ArrayExpress resource. After a phase of development, the Atlas is ready to begin its own life as an independent major resource.

The resource can be accessed from the web of EBI. Te creators have also produced an e-learning tutorial to guide users on how to get the most from the Atlas, freely available, too.

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