An international team of scientists this week unveiled the Human Protein Reference Database, an online database that currently contains entries for the 3000 most-studied human proteins. Information on a total of 10,000 proteins is expected to be in the database by year's end, freely accessible to noncommercial researchers.

"We think this database is the most user-friendly and comprehensive and annotated resource so far for the proteins in it. Most features of proteins that biologists care about and would want to see are in one place here," said Akhilesh Pandey, the database's principal investigator and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Ease of use was a high priority for the database, Pandey said. For instance, a biologist looking up information on the breast cancer gene BRCA1 can search by any of its names and get a single entry containing everything—its alternate names, structure, function, sequence, how it's modified, known interactions...

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