- Step 1: Go to the NCBI website Go to the National Center for Biotechnology Information website to find out what NCBI is. The NCBI databases are a division of the National Library of Medicine -- part of the U.S. Government’s National Institutes of Health.
- Step 2: Go to the Entrez tutorial Go to the Entrez tutorial. Entrez is NCBI’s cross-database search tool. The tutorial offers an overview of doing a global search of NCBI’s multiple databases.
- Step 3: Go to the Entrez search system Go to the Entrez search system website to search major databases, including PubMed, Protein and Nucleotide Sequences, Protein Structures, and Complete Genomes.
- TIP: Choose to search one particular database via the Entrez search pull-down menu.
- Step 4: Enter a term in Entrez’s search slot Enter a term, such as "bacteria" into the search slot, and click the Go button to do a text-based search of all NCBI databases. Explore the search results.
- Step 5: Focus your Entrez search Focus your search. For example, use Entrez’s Nucleotide database: Click the Limits tab; select a specific search field, such as "Author," "Journal," or "Protein Name," or select a molecule type or gene location. Then click Go.
- TIP: Use the Preview/Index option in the Nucleotide database to view a selection of keywords commonly used in searches.
- Step 6: Explore articles in the search results Explore articles in the search results. Read an article by clicking on its link. Article details can include authors, definitions, and sequence numbers.
- TIP: To save and retrieve all your prior search results, register for an account in My NCBI.
- Step 7: Analyze the database info using BLAST Analyze the database information using BLAST, another NCBI search tool. BLAST compares similarities between gene sequences and helps identify gene family members.
- FACT: Humans share over 95 percent of their genetic makeup with chimpanzees, making them our closest living relatives.
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