Data driven computational biology relies on the large quantities of genomic data stored in international sequence data banks. However, the possibilities are drastically impaired if the stored data is unreliable. During a project aiming to predict splice sites in the dicot Arabidopsis thaliana, we extracted a data set from the A. thaliana entries in GenBank. A number of simple `sanity' checks, based on the nature of the data, revealed an alarmingly high error rate. More than 15% of the most important entries extracted did contain erroneous information. In addition, a number of entries had directly conflicting assignments of exons and introns, not stemming from alternative splicing. In a few cases the errors are due to mere typographical misprints, which may be corrected by comparison to the original papers, but errors caused by wrong assignments of splice sites from experimental data are the most common. It is proposed that the level of error correction should be increased and that gene structure sanity checks should be incorporated - also at the submitter level - to avoid or reduce the problem in the future. A non-redundant and error corrected subset of the data for A. thaliana is made available through anonymous FTP.
|Journal||Nucleic Acids Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|