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 Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and GenBank at NCBI. These three organizations exchange data on a daily basis.

The complete release notes for the current version of GenBank are available on the NCBI ftp site. A new release is made every two months.  GenBank growth statistics for both the traditional GenBank divisions and the WGS division are available from each release.

An example of a GenBank record may be viewed for a Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene.

Access to GenBank

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

  • Search GenBank for sequence identifiers and annotations with Entrez Nucleotide , which is divided into three divisions: CoreNucleotide (the main collection), dbEST (Expressed Sequence Tags), and dbGSS (Genome Survey Sequences).
  • Search and align GenBank sequences to a query sequence using BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool). BLAST searches CoreNucleotide, dbEST, and dbGSS independently; see BLAST info for more information about the numerous BLAST databases.
  • Search, link, and download sequences programatically using NCBI e-utilities .

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.


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. A date must be specified; we can not hold a sequence indefinitely pending publication. However, if a paper citing the sequence or accession number is published prior to the specified date, the sequence will be released upon publication. 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:


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: 2013-01-25T14:17:36-05:00