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CDC Researchers Launch Database of Population Genomics, Clinical Data

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere have developed and released the Public Health Genomics Knowledge Base (PHGKB), an open-access online catalog of curated genomic, clinical, and public health information culled from published population-based studies.

According to a brief report published last week in Genetics in Medicine that describes the resource, the PHGKB consists of nine databases that contain curated data from scientific publications, guidelines, and commentaries. The content is indexed and grouped into categories such as practice guidelines, systematic reviews, implementation studies, and applications of genomic tests and family health history, according to the paper. Users can search all of the information contained in the databases or they can explore information contained in each individual database. There also are tools that let users customize how their search results are displayed and users can subscribe to two weekly email newsletters focused on human and pathogen genomics that will highlight new content posted on the PHGKB site, according to the paper.

"Genomics has given rise to many specialized online databases that were designed primarily for use by researchers and other expert users," the authors of the report, led by Muin Khoury, director of the office of public health genomics at the CDC, said. "PHGKB is unique in providing systematically curated and updated information that bridges population-based research with clinical and public health applications."

They added that they hope the PHGKB "offers a useful resource to researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and members of the public who are interested in understanding how genomic research can contribute to better health."

So far the resource has been tested in pilots with selected users at the CDC and in some state health departments, and the developers plan to run additional evaluation studies moving forward.

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