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New user-friendly resource connects human genes to biological functions


Guide to the Human Genome is now available at www.humangenomeguide.org

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Jan. 11, 2011) – The human genome sequence, initially completed in draft form nearly a decade ago, has revolutionized biological research.  But most research findings are buried in the scientific literature, and linking basic biological processes to genomic information can be difficult without substantial effort or training.  A new resource that provides easy access to information about genes and their biological functions was just released by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.  This resource, Guide to the Human Genome, is online at www.humangenomeguide.org.  The text of the website is also available in a print version.

“A principal goal of the Guide is to provide a comprehensive framework to present all human genes,” writes the author, Stewart Scherer.  Each of the nearly 300 sections of the Guide describes genes involved in a specific pathway, process, or structure—from the molecular and cellular levels to developmental and physiological processes.  In the online version, these sections contain links to more information about proteins encoded by over 17,000 known or predicted human genes.

For each protein, basic characteristics about its composition and length, its human relatives and relatedness to proteins in other species, and direct links to resources at NCBI are included. Additional links to NCBI resources are provided for human noncoding RNAs and repeated DNA elements and for proteins of interest from other species. The entire text of the Guide is searchable, and tools are available for identifying human protein sequences using those from other species.  See http://www.cshlp.org/ghg5_all/demo/index.html for a video demonstration on how to use the Guide.

The Guide, updated on a regular basis, will be useful to researchers looking to connect sequence data with functional information, and can be used in parallel with traditional texts in undergraduate and graduate courses to provide a genomics dimension and experience of identifying genes underpinning processes of interest.  "The Guide is not simply a textbook, a database, a review article, or a reference book,” writes Scherer.  “By combining aspects of all of them, I hope it is useful to students, faculty, and researchers."

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About the book:
Guide to the Human Genome (© 2010) was written by Stewart Scherer and published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Individual or institutional access to the online version is available at http://humangenomeguide.org, and the paperback version (ISBN 978-0-879699-44-4; 1008 pp., 8 1/2 × 11”) is available at http://www.cshlpress.com/link/guidehumgenp.htm.

About the author:
Stewart Scherer received a BS in Biology from Caltech in 1977 and a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford in 1982, and then returned to Caltech for postdoctoral work. From 1986 through 1996 he was in the Microbiology Department of the University of Minnesota. While at Minnesota, he spent time working at the LBL Human Genome Center. Since leaving Minnesota, he has focused on bioinformatics, both in industry and in the analysis of the Candida albicans genome. After lecturing on genomics at Caltech in 2004, his efforts have centered on writing about the human genome. He also wrote A Short Guide to the Human Genome (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2008).

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York. Since 1933, it has furthered the advance and spread of scientific knowledge in all areas of genetics and molecular biology, including cancer biology, plant science, bioinformatics, and neurobiology. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com.

Liz Powers, Book Marketing and Sales Account Manager
powerse@cshl.edu; 516-422-4101

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