Why You Should Be Annotating

Scientists who rely on accurate gene predictions should share in the burden of creating them

Jeffrey M. Perkel
Jun 1, 2006

Your local convenience store probably has a dish filled with pennies near the checkout. If your order costs $1.01 and you don't have a penny, you take one. The next time you're in, if you get change, you're expected to leave a penny. Unfortunately, when it comes to annotating sequence databases, it seems most researchers are the type to take a penny, but not give one back.

With the click of a mouse, scientists gain free access to enormously expensive and annotated sequence databases, the product of teams of researchers and informaticians. Yet when users notice errors in annotation - gene models that don't match their own data, for instance - they generally keep the knowledge to themselves. "There's a certain amount of apathy," says WormBase developer Lincoln Stein. "People realize a gene model is incorrect but they don't report it."

They don't alert database curators to new gene models...