Biological databases are key resources for identifying novel drug targets [4-6]. When sequence databases were first created, the amount of data was small and the entries were manually created and entered as text files. As new types of data were captured or created, new data repositories were created using variety of file formats . Over the past ten years, the management of biological information has truly come of age, becoming increasingly integrated into the scientific process. It is now almost impossible to think of an experimental strategy in biomedi-cine that does not involve some online foray into scientific databases. At the core of this shift is a huge data explosion, most notably in the amount of gene sequence and mapping information.
An example for this growth is illustrated in Figure 3. From its inception in November 1988, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI; home page URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) was charged with providing data access and molecular biology analysis tools to the public domain. Figure 3 (http://
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