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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, September 1994; 6(3):7

Reference Library, Database

Gunther Zehetner, Hans Lehrach, and colleagues at the Genome Analysis Laboratory of the U.K. Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) have developed the Reference Library System (RLS) and its associated Reference Library DataBase (RLDB2). RLS is a high-density genome-mapping system based on the use of common reference libraries that provide simplified access to clones and allow efficient integration of information created in different types of experiments by many scientists.

The distribution service of RLDB sends out high-density library filters to participating laboratories, where investigators hybridize them to their own unique or complex probes and identify the clones containing the probe sequences. Results on probes and positive clones are returned to RLDB, where they are entered into an object-based database (RLDB2), which is accessible online via Internet. The laboratories receive the identified clones for further analysis, giving quick access to the clones and any information that might already be available about them.

The cosmid, P1, YAC, and cDNA libraries, which are freely available to other laboratories for noncommercial use, are distributed on filter grids carrying up to 20,000 clones per 22- by 22-cm nylon membrane. A fee is charged to laboratories outside the European Community to recover filter production and mailing costs.


RLDB2 can store many different experimental (libraries, clones, filters) and informational (contigs, maps, images) objects and their relationship to each other. A prototype information server on WWW allows users to query the database and returns the retrieved data as HTML documents, which can contain text and images as well as hyperlinks to files, other RLDB2 objects, and information in external databases such as GDB, OMIM, and GenBank (Registered Trademark). Users can also view RLDB files, request RLS items, return hybridization results, or connect to other biological servers. The system permits nonregistered users to view public data and registered users to access and update their own private data as well.

Lists of all used probes, their origin, chromosome location, and number of identified potential or confirmed cosmid, P1, or YAC clones are generated once a week and automatically downloaded to the National Center for Biotechnology Information data repository in Bethesda, Maryland; they can be accessed by anonymous ftp. The public RLDB data are also made available as an IRX (Information Retrieval Experimental Workbench) database from the data repository (see addresses below). [Contact: Reference Library DataBase; ICRF; 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, RCS; London WC2A 3PX, U.K. (Fax: +44-71/269-3645, Internet:]

[Reported in Nature 367(6462), 489-91 (February 3, 1994).]

Access to RLDB
  • Via Anonymous Ftp

    From the NCBI data repository at ( in the following directories:

    /repository/RLDB (general information) /repository/RLDB/RLDBlist (probe lists) /repository/RLDB/RLDBirx (IRX files)

  • Via WWW

    As clients, the RLDB server requires WWW browsers that can use forms (Mosaic, MacWeb, Lynx). To access RLDB2, point the client to the URL

HGMIS staff

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v6n3).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

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