Touring Ensembl: a practical guide to genome browsing

BMC Genomics. 2010 May 11;11:295. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-11-295.


The number of databases in molecular biological fields has rapidly increased to provide a large-scale resource. Though valuable information is available, data can be difficult to access, compare and integrate due to different formats and presentations of web interfaces. This paper offers a practical guide to the integration of gene, comparative genomic, and functional genomics data using the Ensembl website at Ensembl genome browser and underlying databases focus on chordate organisms. More species such as plants and microorganisms can be investigated using our sister browser at this study, four examples are used that sample many pages and features of the Ensembl browser. We focus on comparative studies across over 50 mostly chordate organisms, variations linked to disease, functional genomics, and access of external information housed in databases outside the Ensembl project. Researchers will learn how to go beyond simply exporting one gene sequence, and explore how a genome browser can integrate data from various sources and databases to build a full and comprehensive biological picture.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Internet*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Rats
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Interleukin-2