RNAcentral: A vision for an international database of RNA sequences

Alex Bateman, Shipra Agrawal, Ewan Birney, Elspeth A Bruford, Janusz M Bujnicki, Guy Cochrane, James R Cole, Marcel E Dinger, Anton J Enright, Paul P Gardner, Daniel Gautheret, Sam Griffiths-Jones, Jen Harrow, Javier Herrero, Ian H Holmes, Hsien-Da Huang, Krystyna A Kelly, Paul Kersey, Ana Kozomara, Todd M LoweManja Marz, Simon Moxon, Kim D Pruitt, Tore Samuelsson, Peter F Stadler, Albert J Vilella, Jan-Hinnerk Vogel, Kelly P Williams, Mathew W Wright, Christian Zwieb

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During the last decade there has been a great increase in the number of noncoding RNA genes identified, including new classes such as microRNAs and piRNAs. There is also a large growth in the amount of experimental characterization of these RNA components. Despite this growth in information, it is still difficult for researchers to access RNA data, because key data resources for noncoding RNAs have not yet been created. The most pressing omission is the lack of a comprehensive RNA sequence database, much like UniProt, which provides a comprehensive set of protein knowledge. In this article we propose the creation of a new open public resource that we term RNAcentral, which will contain a comprehensive collection of RNA sequences and fill an important gap in the provision of biomedical databases. We envision RNA researchers from all over the world joining a federated RNAcentral network, contributing specialized knowledge and databases. RNAcentral would centralize key data that are currently held across a variety of databases, allowing researchers instant access to a single, unified resource. This resource would facilitate the next generation of RNA research and help drive further discoveries, including those that improve food production and human and animal health. We encourage additional RNA database resources and research groups to join this effort. We aim to obtain international network funding to further this endeavor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1941-1946
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2011


  • sequence database
  • federation
  • noncoding RNA

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