Not all genomes in the National Center for Biotechnology Information databases are correctly labeled, but the agency is working on fixing those errors, Mike the Mad Biologist says at his blog.
According to Mike, NCBI's Scott Federhen said at a recent American Society for Microbiology-hosted conference that NCBI has a new policy of correcting the labels of genomes that are assigned to the wrong species. This is a shift as NCBI is part of National Library of Medicine, which, as Mike puts it, doesn't correct articles in PubMed.
Mike notes that those genome-labeling errors can crop up in a number of ways, including contamination, sample swaps, mistakes in data handling, and just incorrectly identifying the genome.
"This is a much-needed change. Many research groups as well as public health labs routinely use the genomes in GenBank as part of genomic-based surveillance," he says. "Having a few misnamed genomes within a species for which there are hundred or thousands of genomes might not sound like much, but that can really screw up these systems in any number of ways."
HT: The Scientist