In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. The study of the genome is called genomics.
In bioinformatics, a genome browser is a graphical interface for display of information from a biological database for genomic data. They are important tools for studying genomes given the vast amounts of data available. They typically load very large files, such as whole genome FASTA files and display them in a way that users can make sense of the information there. They can be used to visualize a variety of different data types.
Genome browsers enable researchers to visualize and browse entire genomes with annotated data including gene prediction and structure, proteins, expression, regulation, variation, comparative analysis, etc. They use a visual, high-level overview of complex data in a form that can be grasped at a glance and provide the means to explore the data in increasing resolution from megabase scales down to the level of individual elements of the DNA sequence.
There’s a wide range of web based genome browsers. We’re going to restrict our selection to the top 4.
|Desktop Genome Browsers|
|Genome Data Viewer||Genome browser for exploration and analysis of eukaryotic RefSeq genome assemblies|
|Ensembl||Centralized resource for geneticists, molecular biologists and other researchers|
|Genome Browser||Interactively visualize genomic data|
|Epigenome Browser||Visualization, integration and analysis tools for epigenomic datasets|
Note: This Group Test excludes desktop based genome browsers for Linux. This is because we recently covered the best ones in this article.
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