Data explained: gene descriptions

WormBase writes and displays short summaries about genes, in the ‘Overview’ widget on the very top of gene pages.  When we realized we couldn’t keep up with both updating and writing new gene descriptions, we developed an automated gene descriptions data pipeline that looks at primary data from the most recent WormBase release, in order to write gene descriptions for the next WormBase release (eg., the gene descriptions for the WS262 release of WormBase are based on the WS261 WormBase data release). The data we currently include in a gene description are – orthology to human for C. elegans genes and orthology to C. elegans for non-elegans species genes (such as C. briggsae), biological process, molecular function and cellular localization (based on Gene Ontology (GO) annotations), and tissue expression data.  For poorly studied genes with no functional data, we include expression and regulation data summaries from large scale experiments such as microarray, tiling array and RNA sequencing. For every new release, scripts add new data that has been curated between the releases, in the above categories, to the gene descriptions.  We currently have over 140,000 gene descriptions for nine species. The descriptions for the non-elegans genes such as C. briggsae, C. japonica, etc. can be found in the ‘Overview’ widget on their respective gene pages.  In addition, we also make available a file with all the gene descriptions for a given species by release, on our FTP site for download, for eg., for C. elegans, the ‘c_elegans.PRJNA13758.WS262.functional_descriptions.txt’ file is available here.  Files for other species can be found by going down a similar directory structure in the WS262 release directory.