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Rolf Apweiler talks with and answers a few questions about this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Biology & Biochemistry.
Apweiler Article Title: The universal protein resource (UniProt)
Authors: Bairoch, A, et al.
Volume: 35
Page: :D193-D197
Year: Sp. Iss. SI JAN 2007
* Georgetown Univ, Med Ctr, 3300 Whitehaven St NW,Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20007 USA.
* Georgetown Univ, Med Ctr, Washington, DC 20007 USA.
(addresses have been truncated)

Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

The paper gives an update on UniProt (Universal Protein Resource), which provides the life science community with a freely accessible, comprehensive, high-quality resource on proteins. UniProt is a common development of three groups at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). The UniProt databases are used by the majority of life science researchers and thus play an important role in research and development.

Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?

It describes new and improved services that are offered to users of the UniProt databases, as well as new types of information incorporated in UniProt.

Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

"The UniProt databases at make the results of the scientific community in genome and protein research..."

UniProt is a freely accessible information resource for life scientists and can be compared to the development and maintenance of a comprehensive and up-to-date encyclopedia on proteins.

How did you become involved in this research, and were there any problems along the way?

I became involved in the development of Swiss-Prot, one of the databases that are now part of the UniProt resource, as a student in 1986. The biggest problem was, and still is, to keep pace with the dramatic development of biology, especially the exponential growth of the data due to high-throughput technologies; to adapt the databases to the changes; and to secure the necessary funding to do so.

Where do you see your research leading in the future?

In the future, we need to pay even more attention to the incorporation of datasets from large-scale experiments into the UniProt databases as well as to the integration across different biomedical databases.

Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

The UniProt databases at make the results of the scientific community in genome and protein research freely accessible worldwide to the scientific community and interested lay persons thus facilitating the worldwide dissemination of research results.

Rolf Apweiler
Joint Head of Protein and Nucleotide Data (PANDA) Group
EMBL Outstation - Hinxton European Bioinformatics Institute
Wellcome Trust Genome Campus
Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

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Keywords: uniprot, universal protein resource, uniprot databases, european bioinformatics institute, ebi, swiss institute of bioinformatics, sib, protein information resource, life science community, worldwide dissemination.


2008 : June 2008 - Fast Breaking Papers : Rolf Apweiler