The National Center for Biotechnology Information is a website that hosts many databases that can be easily searched. This specific database is for genes and gene loci, within different organisms. Also listed within the database are genetic maps, variations within a specific gene, and observable phenotypic traits for the gene (1). The gene database also contains many useful genetic tools, such as BLAST, which stands for Basic Local Alignment Search Tool. The NCBI started it's biomedical database in the early 90's with entrez (2). The gene database was started in 1992, with collaborators from laboratories in Europe and Japan. The NCBI ultimately started its website in 1994, making it public to scientists all around the world (2).
BLAST stands for Basic Local Alignment Search Tool and is used to search for similar sequences between two organisms. The sequences can consist of either nucleotides (DNA) or amino acids (Protein). Both are easy to search for using BLAST and will give the user information that will help determine how similar, or different, two organisms are in comparison. This program uses an algorithm that searches for a specific sequence, and against a different sequence (3).
To the right of this paragraph is a picture of the BLAST program. This window is the first page the user sees when using the program. The yellow box is where the user would paste the FASTA file of the sequence they are searching for. You can use search against different genomic databases, with humans and mice being the most popular. After the user inputs their sequence into the search bar and BLASTs the sequence, the next page (picture below) comes up showing all the significant matches between genes in the database and the sequence being searched for (4).
1. NCBI Gene
2. A Brief History of NCBI’s Formation and Growth. NCBI
3. BLAST. Wikipedia