Satoru Miyazaki and Yoshio Tateno
Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan, National Institute of Genetics
By the 1950’s it was well established by several pioneers that DNA is a building block of a gene.1,3 The truism has led researchers in biology to the notion that every biological activity should be understood by the language of DNA. This notion, however, was not put into practice until the two methods of DNA sequencing were invented in 1977,4-5 and DNA sequence data was gradually accumulated at individual laboratories worldwide. Thereafter, it was rather natural that someone came up with the idea that the data would better serve the international academic community if it were compiled, edited and released together by a few public repositories. EMBL (The European Molecular Biology Laboratory) implemented this idea first, and established a public database, the EMBL Data Library (EMBL-DL), in 1980. Then GenBank was organized as another public database in the United States two years later, and since then the two databases have collaborated with each other.
The DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ, http://www.ddbj.nig.ac.jp/) was established in the National Institute of Genetics as the third public DNA database, and began its activity in 1986 with the endorsements of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science and concerned molecular biologists in Japan. From the beginning, DDBJ was intended to operate as one of the International Nucleotide Sequence Databases (INSD), of which EMBL-DL and GenBank are the two other partners. DDBJ has collaborated with the two partners by mutual exchanges of data on a daily basis through the Internet, and by holding two annual meetings, the International Nucleotide Databases
Bartha Maria Knoppers (ed.), Populations and Genetics: Legal and Socio-Ethical Perspectives. © 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV. Printed in the Netherlands.