Greetings GenBank Users,
GenBank Release 175.0 is now available via FTP from the National
Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):
Ftp Site Directory Contents
---------------- --------- ---------------------------------------
ftp.ncbi.nih.gov genbank GenBank Release 175.0 flatfiles
ncbi-asn1 ASN.1 data used to create Release 175.0
Close-of-data for GenBank 175.0 occurred on 12/15/2009. Uncompressed,
the Release 175.0 flatfiles require roughly 422 GB (sequence files only)
or 452 GB (including the 'short directory', 'index' and the *.txt
files). The ASN.1 data require approximately 381 GB.
Recent statistics for non-WGS, non-CON sequences:
Release Date Base Pairs Entries
174 Oct 2009 108560236506 110946879
175 Dec 2009 110118557163 112910950
Recent statistics for WGS sequences:
Release Date Base Pairs Entries
174 Oct 2009 149348923035 48119301
175 Dec 2009 158317168385 54076973
During the 60 days between the close dates for GenBank Releases 174.0
and 175.0, the non-WGS/non-CON portion of GenBank grew by 1,558,320,657
basepairs and by 1,964,071 sequence records. During that same period,
1,873,102 records were updated. An average of about 63,900 non-WGS/non-CON
records were added and/or updated per day.
Between releases 174.0 and 175.0, the WGS component of GenBank grew by
8,968,245,350 basepairs and by 5,957,672 sequence records.
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 175.0 and Upcoming Changes) have been appended
below for your convenience.
** Important Notes **
* The average uncompressed size of EST and GSS sequence files will
be doubled to about 500MB for the February 2010 release. See
Section 1.4.1 of the release notes for more information.
* 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
NCBI is considering ceasing support for the index files, so we
encourage affected users to review that section and provide feedback.
Release 175.0 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: December 15 2009, 175.0). 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 or Linux 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
175.0, please send email outlining your difficulties to:
info from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Mark Cavanaugh, Michael Kimelman, Ilya Dondoshansky, Sergey Zhdanov
1.3 Important Changes in Release 175.0
1.3.1 Organizational changes
The total number of sequence data files increased by 24 with this release:
- the BCT division is now composed of 50 files (+2)
- the CON division is now composed of 130 files (-2)
- the ENV division is now composed of 23 files (+1)
- the EST division is now composed of 904 files (+12)
- the GSS division is now composed of 356 files (+6)
- the PAT division is now composed of 88 files (+3)
- the PLN division is now composed of 39 files (+1)
- the PRI division is now composed of 41 files (+1)
The change in the number of CON division files reflects a decrease
in the number of records that are constructed from WGS projects.
Re-assembly of WGS projects can sometimes result in fewer (but larger)
contigs, and hence the number of CON-division scaffolds built from
the contigs can also decrease.
The total number of 'index' files increased by 2 with this release:
- the AUT (author) index is now composed of 71 files (+2)
1.3.2 /artificial_location qualifier introduced
A new qualifier, intended for use in limited genome-scale annotation
contexts, is now legal as of this December 2009 GenBank Release 175.0 :
Definition indicates that location of the CDS or mRNA is modified to adjust
for the presence of a frameshift or internal stop codon and not
because of biological processing between the regions.
Value format none
Comment expected to be used only for genome-scale annotation, either
because a heterogeneous population was sequenced or because the
feature is in a region of low-quality sequence.
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
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
There is thus a discrepancy between the filenames and file headers for
eighty-two of the GSS flatfiles in Release 175.0. Consider gbgss275.seq :
GBGSS1.SEQ Genetic Sequence Data Bank
December 15 2009
NCBI-GenBank Flat File Release 175.0
GSS Sequences (Part 1)
87171 loci, 64182194 bases, from 87171 reported sequences
Here, the filename and part number in the header is "1", though the file
has been renamed as "275" based on the number of files dumped from the other
system. We hope to resolve this discrepancy at some point, but the priority
is certainly much lower than many other tasks.
1.4 Upcoming Changes
1.4.1 Increase in the size of EST and GSS sequence files
The average size of EST and GSS sequence files, uncompressed, is
approximately 222 MB. For the February 2010 GenBank release, we will
increase the average file size to about 500 MB, which would reduce
the number of EST/GSS files by about 50% (from roughly 1200 to about 600).
This change should make FTP transfers of an entire release easier to
manage (fewer files), while still maintaining a tractable uncompressed
1.4.2 New /pseudogene and /non_functional qualifiers
The GenBank 173.0 release notes described an anticipated conversion
of the /pseudo qualifer to /non_functional, based on the results of
the May 2009 INSDC annual meeting:
"Because the term "pseudo" is often assumed to mean 'pseudogene',
the /pseudo qualifier will be renamed as /non_functional, to
better reflect its actual usage in the sequence databases."
During follow-up discussions, the INSDC members decided that existing
uses of /pseudo can include both of the possible meanings of the term,
and that a more conservative course would be to introduce two new
Sequence submission tools will be updated to utilize these, and
the ambiguous /pseudo qualifier will be deprecated. If it is
possible, existing instances of /pseudo would then be converted
to one of the two new qualifiers.
/pseudogene and /non_functional will become legal for the Feature
Table as of the April 2010 GenBank Release.