March 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 6)
Strong Points: Good help sections, well organized
Weak Points: Nothing major
So how exactly does one go about dividing up the genome? Sure, one can segment it into its C-A-T-G components, although that is hardly a functional division. There are protein-coding sequences embedded within all of that sequence, but are there other functional components that make up the “parts list” of the genome? Of course there are! And “parts list” is exactly how the people of the ENCODE Consortium describe what they’re trying to compile—after all, ENCODE does stand for ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements. Although the data coordination center is based out of the University of California, Santa Cruz, ENCODE actually represents the combined efforts of groups around the globe. Thanks to their efforts, users can freely access information about functional elements of the human genome such as promoters, enhancers, and chromatin modifications. The data can be both searched and downloaded. Additionally, users can utilize the UCSC genome browser for data visualization and data mining.