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[Genbank-bb] GenBank Release 166.0 Now Available

Mark Cavanaugh via genbankb%40net.bio.net (by cavanaug from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
Fri Jun 13 22:03:16 EST 2008

[Apologies for the double-post : The contents of my original post 
 about Release 166.0 availability will be interpreted as an
 attachment under some circumstances...]

Greetings GenBank Users,

  GenBank Release 166.0 is now available via FTP from the National
Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):

  Ftp Site           Directory   Contents
  ----------------   ---------   ---------------------------------------
  ftp.ncbi.nih.gov   genbank     GenBank Release 166.0 flatfiles
                     ncbi-asn1   ASN.1 data used to create Release 166.0

  Close-of-data for GenBank 166.0 occured on 06/11/2008. Uncompressed, the
Release 166.0 flatfiles require roughly 343 GB (sequence files only)
or 366 GB (including the 'short directory', 'index' and the *.txt files). 
The ASN.1 data require approximately 314 GB.

Recent statistics for non-WGS, non-CON sequences:

  Release  Date       Base Pairs   Entries

  165      Apr 2008   89172350468  85500730
  166      Jun 2008   92008611867  88554578

Recent statistics for WGS sequences:

  Release  Date       Base Pairs   Entries

  165      Apr 2008  110500961400  26931049
  166      Jun 2008  113639291344  39163548

  During the 57 days between the close dates for GenBank Releases 165.0 and
166.0, the non-WGS/non-CON portion of GenBank grew by 2,836,261,399 basepairs
and by 3,053,848 sequence records. During that same period, 376,881 records
were updated. An average of about 60,188 non-WGS/non-CON records were added
and/or updated per day.

  Between releases 165.0 and 166.0, the WGS component of GenBank grew by
3,138,329,944 basepairs and by 12,232,499 records.

  GenBank has surpassed the 200-billion basepair threshold, with a total
of 205,647,903,211 bases as of this June 2008 release.

  For additional release information, see the README files in either of
the directories mentioned above, and the release notes (gbrel.txt) in
the genbank directory. Sections 1.3 and 1.4 of the release notes
(Changes in Release 166.0 and Upcoming Changes) have been appended
                ** Important Notes **

*  A new GenBank division appears with Release 166.0 : the Transcriptome Shotgun
   Assembly, or TSA, division. Please see Section 1.3.2 of the release notes for
   more information about TSA and the records that it contains.

*  Support for the single, comprehensive protein FASTA file which accompanies
   GenBank releases ceases with this June 2008 release. See Section 1.4.1 of
   the release notes for details.

*  GenBank 'index' files are now provided without any EST content, and without
   most GSS content. See Section 1.3.3 of the release notes for further details.
   NCBI is considering ceasing support for the index files, so we encourage
   affected users to review that section and provide feedback.

  Release 166.0 data, and subsequent updates, are available now via
NCBI's Entrez and Blast services.

  As a general guideline, we suggest first transferring the GenBank release
notes (gbrel.txt) whenever a release is being obtained. Check to make sure
that the date and release number in the header of the release notes are
current (eg: June 15 2008, 166.0). If they are not, interrupt the
remaining transfers and then request assistance from the NCBI Service Desk.

  A comprehensive check of the headers of all release files after your
transfers are complete is also suggested. Here's how one might go about
this on a unix platform, using csh/tcsh :

        set files = `ls gb*.*`
        foreach i ($files)
                head -10 $i | grep Release

Or, if the files are compressed, perhaps:

        gzcat $i | head -10 | grep Release

  If you encounter problems while ftp'ing or uncompressing Release
166.0, please send email outlining your difficulties to:

        info from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Mark Cavanaugh, Vladimir Alekseyev, Michael Kimelman

1.3 Important Changes in Release 166.0

1.3.1 Organizational changes

  The total number of sequence data files increased by 47 with this release:

  - the TSA division is now comprised of   1 file  (+1)
  - the BCT division is now comprised of  29 files (+1)
  - the CON division is now comprised of  91 files (+6)
  - the EST division is now comprised of 738 files (+25)
  - the ENV division is now comprised of   9 files (+1)
  - the GSS division is now comprised of 290 files (+5)
  - the HTG division is now comprised of 117 files (+3)
  - the PAT division is now comprised of  42 files (+4)
  - the PRI division is now comprised of  36 files (+1)

  The total number of index files increased by 4 with this release:

  - the AUT index is now comprised of  54 files  (+4)

1.3.2 New file for the Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly (TSA) division

  As announced with the previous release, Release 166.0 contains a new
divisional file (gbtsa.seq) for Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly (TSA)
mRNA sequences.

  TSA sequences are shotgun assemblies of primary sequences deposited in
dbEST, the Trace Archive (TA) or the Short-Read Archive (SRA).  Keywords
"TSA" and "Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly" are present on all TSA
records, in addition to a division code value of "TSA" on the LOCUS line.

  No format changes (new or changed line types, features, or qualifiers)
are anticipated for this new class of GenBank record.

  However, note that TSA records make use of the same PRIMARY block that
is utilized for Third-Party Annotation (TPA) records. The PRIMARY block
contains references to the underlying reads/transcripts that were assembled
to construct a TSA record.

  It might be helpful to review the content of TSA record EZ000001 and its
use of the PRIMARY block:


Requirements for the new Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly division include:

1. Submission of primary transcipt sequence data to dbEST, the Trace Archive,
   or the Short-Read archive (SRA).  

2. Registration of an associated transcriptome project with the International
   Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC).

   For information about submitting projects via NCBI/GenBank, see:


3. Submission of TSA sequence records to GenBank, including an assembly file
   (.ace format)

Note that TSA records and the primary transcript sequences that they are
built from must be provided by the same submitter or collaborative group.

1.3.3 Changes in the content of index files

  As described in the GB 153 release notes, the 'index' files which accompany
GenBank releases (see Section 3.3) are considered to be a legacy data product by
NCBI, generated mostly for historical reasons. FTP statistics of January 2005
seem to support this: the index files were transferred only half as frequently as
the files of sequence records. The inherent inefficiencies of the index file
format also lead us to suspect that they have little serious use by the user
community, particularly for EST and GSS records.

  The software that generated the index file products received little
attention over the years, and finally reached its limitations in
February 2006 (Release 152.0). The required multi-server queries which
obtained and sorted many millions of rows of terms from several different
databases simply outgrew the capacity of the hardware used for GenBank
Release generation.

  Our short-term solution is to cease generating some index-file content
for all EST sequence records, and for GSS sequence records that originate
via direct submission to NCBI.

  The three gbacc*.idx index files continue to reflect the entirety of the
release, including all EST and GSS records, however the file contents are

  These 'solutions' are really just stop-gaps, and we will likely pursue
one of two options:

a) Cease support of the 'index' file products altogether.

b) Provide new products that present some of the most useful data from
   the legacy 'index' files, and cease support for other types of index data.

  If you are a user of the 'index' files associated with GenBank releases, we
encourage you to make your wishes known, either via the GenBank newsgroup,
or via email to NCBI's Service Desk:

   info from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

  Our apologies for any inconvenience that these changes may cause.

1.3.4 GSS File Header Problem

  GSS sequences at GenBank are maintained in two different systems, depending
on their origin, and the dumps from those systems occur in parallel. Because
the second dump (for example) has no prior knowledge of exactly how many GSS
files will be dumped by the first, it does not know how to number its own
output files.

  There is thus a discrepancy between the filenames and file headers for
fifty-nine of the GSS flatfiles in Release 166.0. Consider gbgss232.seq :

GBGSS1.SEQ           Genetic Sequence Data Bank
                            June 15 2008

                NCBI-GenBank Flat File Release 166.0

                           GSS Sequences (Part 1)

   87182 loci,    64465152 bases, from    87182 reported sequences

  Here, the filename and part number in the header is "1", though the file
has been renamed as "232" based on the number of files dumped from the other
system.  We will work to resolve this discrepancy in future releases, but the
priority is certainly much lower than many other tasks.

1.4 Upcoming Changes

1.4.1 Comprehensive protein FASTA file to be discontinued

  Given the availability of divisional protein FASTA files as of GenBank
Release 164.0, support for the single, large, comprehensive protein FASTA


(where 'NNN' represents a three-digit GenBank release number) will be
discontinued after GenBank Release 166.0 in June of 2008. The size
of this file has grown to exceed 4GB, which is unmanageable for many users.

  Users are advised to make plans to utilize the new divisional files by
August of 2008. The divisional protein FASTA files are located at:


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