On June 15, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) launched a new database, the Gene Expression Atlas, "which allows scientists to search and compare gene expression data at unprecedented detail and scope. Observing how gene expression varies in different cell types, tissues and under disease conditions can help researchers understand gene function and to develop new drugs and therapies" (quote from the press release(pdf) from EMBL-EBI).
You can search by gene name, up or down regulation, organism, experimental or disease conditions and return results as a heat map or as a list.
Alternately, you can just view the atlas entry for a single gene name, such as APP in the example below.
Clicking on any of the experiment sets will open a new window in which you can view the expression profiles of the top 10 differentially expressed genes in that experiment or search for other genes with similar expression profiles.
This type of functionality allows you to see at a glance the expression profiles from a number of genes in various experimental conditions. This is a real convenience compared to downloading the datasets and running statistical analysis on it yourself, especially for seeing a summary of the experimental results from any given dataset.
The amount of data available in this atlas is pretty impressive and, while it won't replace biostatistical analysis for in-depth investigation of high-throughput experimental results, it does make the data from such experiments much easier to search in a useful graphical interface.
The Biosciences & Bioinformatics Blog highlights new tools and news items of interest to the biosciences research community at Northwestern University.