Ensembl genome database project is a joint scientific project between the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which was launched in 1999 in response to the imminent completion of the Human Genome Project.[2] Ensembl aims to provide a centralized resource for geneticists, molecular biologists and other researchers studying the genomes of our own species and other vertebrates and model organisms.[3] Ensembl is one of several well known genome browsers for the retrieval of genomic information. Similar databases and browsers are found at NCBI and the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).


1 Background 2 Displaying genomic data 3 Alternative access methods 4 Current species 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Background[edit] The human genome consists of three billion base pairs, which code for approximately 20,000–25,000 genes. However the genome alone is of little use, unless the locations and relationships of individual genes can be identified. One option is manual annotation, whereby a team of scientists tries to locate genes using experimental data from scientific journals and public databases. However this is a slow, painstaking task. The alternative, known as automated annotation, is to use the power of computers to do the complex pattern-matching of protein to DNA.[citation needed] In the Ensembl project, sequence data are fed into the gene annotation system (a collection of software "pipelines" written in Perl) which creates a set of predicted gene locations and saves them in a MySQL database for subsequent analysis and display. Ensembl makes these data freely accessible to the world research community. All the data and code produced by the Ensembl project is available to download,[4] and there is also a publicly accessible database server allowing remote access. In addition, the Ensembl website provides computer-generated visual displays of much of the data. Over time the project has expanded to include additional species (including key model organisms such as mouse, fruitfly and zebrafish) as well as a wider range of genomic data, including genetic variations and regulatory features. Since April 2009, a sister project, Ensembl Genomes, has extended the scope of Ensembl into invertebrate metazoa, plants, fungi, bacteria, and protists, whilst the original project continues to focus on vertebrates. Displaying genomic data[edit]

Gene SGCB aligned to the human genome

Central to the Ensembl concept is the ability to automatically generate graphical views of the alignment of genes and other genomic data against a reference genome. These are shown as data tracks, and individual tracks can be turned on and off, allowing the user to customise the display to suit their research interests. The interface also enables the user to zoom in to a region or move along the genome in either direction. Other displays show data at varying levels of resolution, from whole karyotypes down to text-based representations of DNA and amino acid sequences, or present other types of display such as trees of similar genes (homologues) across a range of species. The graphics are complemented by tabular displays, and in many cases data can be exported directly from the page in a variety of standard file formats such as FASTA. Externally produced data can also be added to the display, either via a DAS (Distributed Annotation System) server on the internet, or by uploading a suitable file in one of the supported formats, such as BAM, BED, or PSL. Graphics are generated using a suite of custom Perl modules based on GD, the standard Perl graphics display library. Alternative access methods[edit] In addition to its website, Ensembl provides a Perl API[5] (Application Programming Interface) that models biological objects such as genes and proteins, allowing simple scripts to be written to retrieve data of interest. The same API is used internally by the web interface to display the data. It is divided in sections like the core API, the compara API (for comparative genomics data), the variation API (for accessing SNPs, SNVs, CNVs..), and the functional genomics API (to access regulatory data). The Ensembl website provides extensive information on how to install and use the API. This software can be used to access the public MySQL database, avoiding the need to download enormous datasets. The users could even choose to retrieve data from the MySQL with direct SQL queries, but this requires an extensive knowledge of the current database schema. Large datasets can be retrieved using the BioMart data-mining tool. It provides a web interface for downloading datasets using complex queries. Last, there is an FTP server which can be used to download entire MySQL databases as well some selected data sets in other formats. Current species[edit] The annotated genomes include most fully sequenced vertebrates and selected model organisms. All of them are eukaryotes, there are no prokaryotes. As of 2008[update], this includes:




Primates: bushbaby, chimp, human, macaque, mouse lemur, orangutan, tarsier; Scandentia: tree shrew ; Glires (= Rodents + Lagomorphs): guineapig, kangaroo rat, mouse, rat, ground squirrel, pika, rabbit ;

Laurasiatheria: cow, dolphin, alpaca, pig, cat, dog, horse, megabat, microbat, hedgehog, shrew ; Afrotheria: elephant, hyrax, tenrec Xenarthra: armadillo, sloth ; Marsupialia: opossum, wallaby ; Monotremes: platypus;

Birds: chicken, zebra finch; Lepidosauria: anole lizard (pre); Lissamphibia: Xenopus tropicalis; Teleost fishes: Takifugu rubripes (fugu), Tetraodon nigroviridis (green spotted pufferfish), Danio rerio (zebrafish), Oryzias latipes (medaka), Gasterosteus aculeatus (stickleback); Cyclostomata: Petromyzon marinus (sea lamprey) (pre); Tunicates: Ciona intestinalis, Ciona savignyi;


Insects: Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly), Anopheles gambiae (mosquito), Aedes aegypti (mosquito) Worm: Caenorhabditis elegans

Yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast)

See also[edit]

List of sequenced eukaryotic genomes Sequence analysis Sequence profiling tool Sequence motif UCSC Genome Browser


^ Hubbard T.; et al. (January 2002). "The Ensembl genome database project". Nucleic Acids Res. 30 (1): 38–41. doi:10.1093/nar/30.1.38. PMC 99161 . PMID 11752248. Retrieved 11 November 2014.  ^ Flicek P, Amode MR, Barrell D, et al. (November 2010). "Ensembl 2011". Nucleic Acids Res. 39 (Database issue): D800–D806. doi:10.1093/nar/gkq1064. PMC 3013672 . PMID 21045057.  ^ Flicek P, Aken BL, Ballester B, et al. (January 2010). "Ensembl's 10th year". Nucleic Acids Res. 38 (Database issue): D557–62. doi:10.1093/nar/gkp972. PMC 2808936 . PMID 19906699.  ^ Ruffier, Magali; Kähäri, Andreas; Komorowska, Monika; Keenan, Stephen; Laird, Matthew; Longden, Ian; Proctor, Glenn; Searle, Steve; Staines, Daniel; Taylor, Kieron; Vullo, Alessandro; Yates, Andrew; Zerbino, Daniel; Flicek, Paul (January 2017). "Ensembl core software resources: storage and programmatic access for DNA sequence and genome annotation". Database. 2017 (1). doi:10.1093/database/bax020.  ^ Stabenau A, McVicker G, Melsopp C, Proctor G, Clamp M, Birney E (February 2004). "The Ensembl Core Software Libraries". Genome Research. 14 (5): 929–933. doi:10.1101/gr.1857204. PMC 479122 . PMID 15123588. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ensembl.

Official website Vega Pre-Ensembl Ensembl genomes UCSC Genome Browser NCBI Ensembl: Browsing chordate genomes on EBI Train OnLine

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Sequence databases: GenBank, European Nucleotide Archive and DNA Data Bank of Japan Secondary databases: UniProt, database of protein sequences grouping together Swiss-Prot, TrEMBL and Protein Information Resource Other databases: Protein Data Bank, Ensembl and InterPro Specialised genomic databases: BOLD, Saccharomyces Genome Database, FlyBase, VectorBase, WormBase, PHI-base, Arabidopsis Information Resource and Zebrafish Information Network


BLAST Bowtie Clustal HMMER MUSCLE SAMtools TopHat


Server: ExPASy Ontology: Gene Ontology


European Bioinformatics Institute US National Center for Biotechnology Information Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Japanese Institute of Genetics Philippine Genome Center Broad Institute Wellcome Sanger Institute


International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) European Molecular Biology network (EMBnet) African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ASBCB) Japanese Society for Bioinformatics (JSBi)


Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB) European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) ISCB Africa ASBCB Conference on Bioinformatics Basel Computational Biology Conference‎ ([BC2]) International Conference on Bioinformatics (InCoB)

Computational biology List of biological databases Sequencing Sequence database Sequence alignment Molecular phylogenetics

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Wellcome Trust

Centres and institutes


Francis Crick Institute Gurdon Institute Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour Science Learning Centres WTC for Cell-Matrix Research WTC for Gene Regulation and Expression WTC for Human Genetics WTC for Mitochondrial Research WTC for Molecular Parasitology WTC for Neuroimaging WTC for Stem Cell Research Wellcome Sanger Institute


Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine Wellcome Research Laboratories

Projects and facilities

1000 Genomes Project Big Picture Cambridge Biomedical Campus Cancer Genome Project ChEMBL COSMIC cancer database DECIPHER Diamond Light Source eLife Ensembl Farmcare Genome Reference Consortium Human Genome Project Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust MEROPS Pfam Rfam UK Biobank Wellcome Collection Wellcome Genome Campus Wellcome Library WormBase

Board of Governors

Tobias Bonhoeffer Alan Brown Damon Buffini William Burns Kay Davies Michael Ferguson Bryan Grenfell Richard Hynes Anne Johnson Eliza Manningham-Buller Peter Rigby

Executive Board

Jeremy Farrar Stephen Caddick Simon Chaplin Tim Livett Clare Matterson Ted Smith Danny Truell

Former directors

Peter Williams (1965–1991) Bridget Ogilvie (1991–1998) Michael Dexter (1998–2008) Mark Walport (2003–2013)

Other key people

William Castell Dominic Cadbury Harold Cook Oliver Franks Roger Gibbs Henry Dale Roy Porter David Steel David Stuart John Sulston Henry Wellcome

Awards and fellowships

Capital Awards Collaborative Awards in Science Investigator Awards in Science Institutional Strategic Support Fund Science Strategic Award Sir Henry Dale Fellowship Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship Wellcome Book Prize Wellcome Image Awards Wellcome Trust Centre Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow