Googling for Genes

Those clever people at Harvard are using Google‘s API to allow users to search for gene sequence fragments on the Web in combination with a text query. You’re limited to 1000 searches per day and have to enter your own API key to get the maximum benefit. But. that’s probably enough to be going on with.

From the site: Query Gene is distinctive because it is not limited to a single database. Instead it captures genetic information across the net using Google. It works by taking a gene sequence in combination with other search terms, finds similar sequences using NCBI’s MegaBlast, retrieves the descriptions of those matching genes from NCBI’s Entrez Nucleotide database, and performs a series of Google searches using the combination of your original search terms and each gene description. The percent sequence identity is indicated alongside each match: this indicates how much of your queried sequence is contained in the sequence it matches.

You might want to find out what disease states are associated with a specific nucleotide sequence. No problem. Paste in the sequence and enter a text phrase, such as “genetic disease associated with” and up pop the results. Well, actually, they didn’t with the test I tried, but that could be down to my browser configuration. I got “Sorry, we are under maintenance: Please try again in a few weeks”.

A sample sequence is given here. If someone else could confirm or refute the maintanance outage for ChemSpy readers that would be very helpful.

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