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Affymetrix Launches NetAffx Website for Integrating Genomic and Microarray Data

NEW YORK, July 25 - To enable its customers to quickly tie together the many strands of genomic and microarray data relevant to their experiments, Affymetrix announced Wednesday that it has launched NetAffx, an online genomic information resource. 

The website, www.netaffx.com  , includes links to GenBank, UniGene, and other public genome databases, as well as proprietary information on protein-related annotations developed at Affymetrix. It is powered by a search engine from Affymetrix's collaborator, Lion Bioscience of Heidelberg, Germany.

The site is free and available to anyone who completes an online registration form and agrees to abide by standard access terms. Affymetrix customers, however, have access to additional information related to GeneChip arrays and private databases, the company said

The site has a full catalog of sequence information and annotations related to the genes that probe sets on Affymetrix GeneChip arrays are designed to detect, Peter Dansky, Affymetrix's senior director of informatics marketing, told GenomeWeb. "We' ve designed it to be Affymetrix array probe-centric. It's not just providing an information resource for the genome. It's also correlating this information to the arrays," Dansky said.

As part of this function, NetAffx will allow researchers to query a database about the probe sets to find out information such as which genes are transcription factors, which ones have been associated with certain diseases, and which ones are expressed in lung tissue, Dansky said.

Additionally, Affymetrix GeneChip users can submit to the site a batch of genes found to be differentially expressed in an experiment, and retrieve numerous annotations on the biological relevance of each gene, the company said. This process is not currently seamless with Affymetrix's data mining software, although the company said it is working on making this batch submission a one-click job.

NetAffx also allows users to choose gene probes for Affymetrix's latest addition to its array portfolio, the GeneChip CustomExpress arrays, which the company officially introduced Tuesday.

The site does not, however, have sequence information for the actual probe sets, the sets of oligonucleotides used to detect genes.

The company is planning to add additional functions to the site for later releases. The current plan is to offer the site for free, but Dansky said the company had not ruled out charging customers for particular add-ons to the site.
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