An online database of 'biological processes in humans' has been launched.

An online database of ’biological processes in humans’ has been launched following a partnership between Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute. Its developers envisage that the database, Reactome, will be used by bioinformaticians to make discoveries about biological pathways and also as a more general online biology textbook.

The data are provided by researchers working in each of the topics that make up so-called ’systems biology’ - from the basic processes of metabolism to complex regulatory pathways such as hormonal signalling.

In addition to the main focus on human pathways, there are data from non-human systems such as rat, mouse, fugu fish and zebra fish, an important addition for researchers working on model organisms.

Reactome is successor to The Genome Knowledgebase, and incorporates data previously held there. The user interface has been redesigned so that all the human pathways included are represented in what the database editors refer rather poetically to as ’a series of constellations in a starry sky’.

The stars ’can be used to navigate through the universe of human reactions’, they say in a joint statement released to accompany the launch.

Bea Perks