The GenBank sequence database is an open access, annotated collection of all publicly available nucleotide sequences and their protein translations. This database is produced at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as part of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC). GenBank and its collaborators receive sequences produced in laboratories throughout the world from more than 100,000 distinct organisms. GenBank continues to grow at an exponential rate, doubling every 18 months. GenBank is built by direct submissions from individual laboratories, as well as from bulk submissions from large-scale sequencing centers, and submissions from private individuals.
Walter Goad of the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and others established the Los Alamos Sequence Database in 1979, which culminated in 1982 with the creation of the public GenBank. Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. LANL collaborated on GenBank with the firm Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, and by the end of 1983 more than 2,000 sequences were stored in it.
In the mid 1980s, the Intelligenetics bioinformatics company at Stanford University managed the GenBank project in collaboration with LANL. As one of the earliest bioinformatics community projects on the Internet, the GenBank project started BIOSCI/Bionet news groups for promoting open access communications among bioscientists. During 1989 to 1992, the GenBank project transitioned to the newly created National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Many genetic genealogists who have taken the full mitochondrial genome sequence (FMS) test have submitted their sequences to GenBank to assist research into the phylogenetic structure of the mtDNA tree. The majority of privately submitted mtDNA sequences on GenBank have been submitted by Family Tree DNA customers. A small number of sequences have also been submitted by Genebase customers and by customers of the now defunct Argus Biosciences. As of January 2013 there almost 17,000 FMS results on GenBank, of which about 6,000 were from FTDNA.
Family Tree DNA offers their FMS customers the option to fill out a survey and to provide consent for their results to be used for scientific research. If your results are used for research your sequence will be submitted to GenBank by the scientists upon publication of the relevant scientific paper. If your results have been submitted to GenBank in this way you will see a GenBank accession number on your mtDNA results tab on your personal page opposite your haplogroup designation. Note that the GenBank ID can only be seen on individual personal pages and cannot be seen by project administrators.
If you wish to submit your sequence to GenBank independently then you should use Ian Logan's tool to facilitate the process. Alternatively Ian will prepare the file for you. Details of both services can be found here.
GenBank contact details
GenBank User Services for general questions regarding GenBank:
If you have additional information about your sequence or wish to make further revisions, please inform GenBank. Revisions may pertain to the bibliography, to the biological data (e.g., new features), or to the sequence data. Please send additional revisions to:
Since the flatfile record is a display format only and is not an editable format of the data, do not make changes directly to a flatfile. For complete information about different methods to update a sequence record, see: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/update.html
- GenBank Submissions Handbook
- GenBank, RefSeq, TPA and UniProt: What’s in a Name?
- Ian Logan's mtDNA pages
- Interview with Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA
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