Rolf Apweiler talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Biology
Article Title: The universal protein resource
Authors: Bairoch, A, et al.
Journal: NUCL ACID RES
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
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
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
"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
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
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.
Joint Head of Protein and Nucleotide Data (PANDA) Group
EMBL Outstation - Hinxton European Bioinformatics Institute
Wellcome Trust Genome Campus
Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
Keywords: uniprot, universal protein resource,
uniprot databases, european bioinformatics institute, ebi, swiss institute
of bioinformatics, sib, protein information resource, life science
community, worldwide dissemination.