Our friends at the NCBI clued us in to one of their newest free tools that should prove to be a big help to anyone wanting to sort through next-gen sequencing data from epigenomic studies. NCBI’s new Sample Browser, located on its Epigenomics page, lets users search, access and analyze sequencing data from various publicly available epigenetic studies.
The Sample Browser resource was designed to be powerful and easy to use, even if you aren’t a grizzled database veteran. As NCBI Epigenetics Curator Ian Fingerman put it, “We really wanted to put together a streamlined and elegant interface for navigating epigenetic datasets. We anticipate that many visitors to NCBI epigenomics might not be experts in the field, and we wanted a tool that would be easy to use and accessible. If you have interest in a particular biological source, all you have to do is apply a few filters and if we have it in the database, you can easily locate it.”
From the Sample Browser, you can select individual or multiple samples, save them as a personal collection (using your My NCBI account, which is free to create), and choose epigenomic data tracks for viewing or downloading. There are also lots of custom options, to really make navigating Epigenomics a personalized experience, like selecting, sorting and displaying a whole host of biological attributes recorded along with the data.
“All of the data that we deposit in Epigenomics are manually curated from publically available datasets and published studies.” explains Fingerman. That includes epigenetics-specific data from general-purpose archives at NCBI, like the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and Sequence Read Archives (SRA), as well as the NIH Roadmap Epigenomics initiative.
Once there, you’ll notice that the Sample Browser is just one part of the Epigenomics home page, an epigenomics focused resource that provides some great information, including background articles relating to Epigenomics, and a useful set of “How to..” documents, including one specifically aimed at showing how to utilize the Sample Browser.
All of that data at your fingertips a killer app to access it, and it’s all for free…what could be better?
Go browse the Browser today at the NCBI Epigenomics Sample Browser site.