GDB Human Genome Database

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The GDB Human Genome Database was a community curated collection of human genomic data. What set GDB apart from other biological databases was its use of leaders in human genetics to act as curators for the data. In order to ensure a high degree of quality, records within GDB were subjected to a process of peer-review, not unlike a traditional publication. Due to the International collaboration which made up the human genome project, GDB received funding from numerous sources in both Europe and Asia.


In 1989 the Howard Hughes Medical Institute provided funding to establish a central repository for human genetic mapping data. This project ultimately resulted in the creation of the GDB Human Genome DataBase in 1990. It was a key database in the Human Genome Project.

Established under the leadership of Peter Pearson and Dick Lucier, GDB received significant financial support from the US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. Located at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, GDB became a source of high quality mapping data which were made available both on-line as well as through numerous printed publications. The project was supported internationally by the EU, Japan, and other countries.

The GDB had several directors in its time. Peter Pearson, David T. Kingsbury, Stantley Letovsky, Peter Li, and A. Jamie Cuticchia.

In 1998, the change of focus in the human genome project redirected funds which were previously available for GDB. However that same year, A. Jamie Cuticchia obtained funding from Canadian public and private sources to continue the operations of GDB. While the data curation continued to be performed at Johns Hopkins, GDB central operations were moved to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In 2003 RTI International became the new host for GDB where it continued to be maintained as a public resource for high quality genetic and genomic information.

On June 1, 2008 RTI International shut down GDB operations. The data continues to be unavailable, though some data has been imported into NCBI databases.


  • Cuticchia AJ (2000). "Future vision of the GDB human genome database". Hum Mutat. 15 (1): 62–67. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-1004(200001)15:1<62::aid-humu13>;2-r. PMID 10612824.
  • S I Letovsky; R W Cottingham; C J Porter; P W Li (Jan 1, 1998). "GDB: the Human Genome Database". Nucleic Acids Res. 26 (1): 94–99. doi:10.1093/nar/26.1.94. PMC 147203. PMID 9399808.
  • Fasman KH, Letovsky SI, Li P, Cottingham RW, Kingsbury DT (Jan 1, 1997). "The GDB Human Genome Database Anno 1997". Nucleic Acids Res. 25 (1): 72–81. doi:10.1093/nar/25.1.72.
  • Fasman KH, Cuticchia AJ, Kingsbury DT (1994). "The GDB Human Genome Database Anno 1994". Nucleic Acids Res. 22 (17): 3462–3479. doi:10.1093/nar/22.17.3462. PMC 308303. PMID 7937047.
  • Cuticchia AJ, Fasman KH, Kingsbury DT, Robbins RJ, Pearson PL (1993). "The GDB Human Genome Database Anno 1993". Nucleic Acids Res. 21 (13): 3003–3006. doi:10.1093/nar/21.13.3003. PMC 309725. PMID 8332522.

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