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March 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 5)

Organelle Map Database

  • Interface, great idea
  • Implementation unclear
A distinguishing feature of eukaryotic cells over their prokaryotic counterparts is the presence in the former of organelles, and it is these membrane-enclosed structures that are at the root of cell biology and this informative website. Going beyond the organelle, molecular biologists have been busy over the years mapping the movement of proteins into and through these various structures and this data provides the fodder for the Organelle Map Database (ORMD). The opening page provides a simple, visual map of a eukaryotic cell. Visitors can click on an organelle to (presumably) see a list of proteins associated with that structure. When I clicked on Golgi apparatus, I got a list of 257 proteins. Clicking on links for several of these brought up additional sequence-related info. I was puzzled, though, in that I couldn’t find Golgi referenced for several of the genes I selected. Is the database inaccurate? Are the sequence databases linked to incomplete? I don’t know. There is an online Cell paper (subscription required) referenced at the site, and it probably has the answers. I don’t, but neither do I think I should have to search for them at a site like this.
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