Genetic databases are gradually assuming an increasing importance in all areas of health care. The national and ethnic mutation databases (NEMDBs) are continuously updated mutation depositories, recording extensive information over the described genetic heterogeneity of an ethnic group or population. Together with the central and locus-specific databases, those resources not only enhance awareness of the various genetic disorders but also facilitate the provision of genetic services and provide useful insights into the genographic history of human populations. Fifteen independent NEMDBs devoted to the documentation of the extant genetic heterogeneity in various population groups within 57 different countries were assessed; 13 of the NEMDBs were fully functional. The contents of the 13 fully functional NEMDBs were thoroughly analyzed for the presence or absence of 39 criteria, pertaining database general information, operating platform, data source and submission, and querying capacity. This study provides a strong case for uniformity of data to make the NEMDBs content maximally useful. In this direction, a hypothetical content for the ideal NEMDB is derived, which is currently being incorporated in an upgraded version of the ETHNOS NEMDB development and curation software, as well as a community structure that would enhance the chances of mutation frequency capture and documentation in human populations. The ultimate goal is that interested parties and granting bodies will assist in achieving the vision of a comprehensive resource that collects and displays all population-specific genetic information discovered.

Ethnic groups, Frequency, Mutations, National and ethnic mutation databases, Populations, Software,
Human Mutation
Biophysical Genomics, Department Cell Biology & Genetics

Patrinos, G.P. (2006). National and ethnic mutation databases: Recording populations' genography. Human Mutation (Vol. 27, pp. 879–887). doi:10.1002/humu.20376