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GenBank Overview

What is GenBank?

GenBank ® is the NIH genetic sequence database, an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences (Nucleic Acids Research, 2013 Jan;41(D1):D36-42). GenBank is part of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration, which comprises the DNA DataBank of Japan (DDBJ), the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), and GenBank at NCBI. These three organizations exchange data on a daily basis.

A GenBank release occurs every two months and is available from the ftp site. The release notes for the current version of GenBank provide detailed information about the release and notifications of upcoming changes to GenBank. Release notes for previous GenBank releases are also available. GenBank growth statistics for both the traditional GenBank divisions and the WGS division are available from each release.

An annotated sample GenBank record for a Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene demonstrates many of the features of the GenBank flat file format.

Access to GenBank

There are several ways to search and retrieve data from GenBank.

GenBank Data Usage

The GenBank database is designed to provide and encourage access within the scientific community to the most up-to-date and comprehensive DNA sequence information. Therefore, NCBI places no restrictions on the use or distribution of the GenBank data. However, some submitters may claim patent, copyright, or other intellectual property rights in all or a portion of the data they have submitted. NCBI is not in a position to assess the validity of such claims, and therefore cannot provide comment or unrestricted permission concerning the use, copying, or distribution of the information contained in GenBank.

Data Processing, Status and Release

The most important source of new data for GenBank is direct submissions from a variety of individuals, including researchers, using one of our submission tools. Following submission, data are subject to automated and manual processing to ensure data integrity and quality and are subsequently made available to the public. On rare occasions, data may be removed from public view. More details about this process can be found on the NLM GenBank and SRA Data Processing.


Some authors are concerned that the appearance of their data in GenBank prior to publication will compromise their work. GenBank will, upon request, withhold release of new submissions for a specified period of time. However, if the accession number or sequence data appears in print or online prior to the specified date, your sequence will be released. In order to prevent the delay in the appearance of published sequence data, we urge authors to inform us of the appearance of the published data. As soon as it is available, please send the full publication data--all authors, title, journal, volume, pages and date--to the following address: update@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


If you are submitting human sequences to GenBank, do not include any data that could reveal the personal identity of the source. GenBank assumes that the submitter has received any necessary informed consent authorizations required prior to submitting sequences.


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Last updated: 2022-12-08T18:29:32Z