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FAQ: Bioinformatics


Access to genes and genomes with Ensembl

Ensembl is one of the world's primary resources for genomic research, a resource through which scientists can access the human genome (as well as other model organisms such as chimpanzee, mouse, zebrafish, Takifugu, Anopheles mosquito, Xenopus tropicalis, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Ensembl is a joint project between EMBL - EBI and the Sanger Institute.

Ensembl genome browser

Ensembl transcript The Ensembl project provides data sets resulting from an automated genome analysis and annotation process. Through the Ensembl website ( a wet-lab researcher with a simple web browser can perform BLAST searches against chromosomal DNA, download a genomic contig sequence or search for all members of a given protein family.

The project provides Ensembl and EST gene sets, as well as many other data sets on a genome-wide scale. Because of the genome complexity and the many different ways in which scientists want to use the genomic data, Ensembl has to provide many levels of access with a high degree of flexibility - Ensembl even offers the option of displaying your own data sets in the genome browser framework.

Training course

The aim of this course is to provide an overview of the Ensembl genome browser, covering different aspects of this comprehensive source of annotated genomes, in order to allow the researcher to get the most out of the system and apply this knowledge to their own project.

This day-long course will be held on Thursday, 17th August, 2006. The course is free and will be taught by members of the Ensembl team from the EBI. It will be held in the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre (behind the Dunn School of Pathology on South Parks Road).


If you are a molbiol account holder and are interested in attending this course, please register by emailing:

If you have any questions about Ensembl and would like to see these discussed on the course, please also let us know so that the instructors from Ensembl can tailor the course appropriately.

Course Outline:

Morning Session: 9.30am

  • Introduction to the Ensembl project
  • Hands-on examples to introduce the system
  • Data mining with BioMart

Lunch: 12.00pm

Afternoon Session: 1.00pm

  • Comparative Genomics and Proteomics
  • Evaluating Genes and Transcripts

Tea and coffee breaks are at 10.30am and 3.00pm. It is anticipated that the course will finish no later than 5.30 pm.

Ensembl screenshot - human & mouse orthologues

Ensembl screenshot

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This file last modified Wednesday July 12, 2006