We’re excited to be trying a new conference this year: the African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) conference in collaboration with H3Africa, in Kigali Rwanda, 19th-21st September. The conference is a fantastic opportunity for African scientists to showcase their work, build collaborations and learn more about their field of research. For us, it’s great to see what research is going on outside of our usual sphere, as well as to promote our free database and training to researchers who could benefit from it.

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It’s probably reasonable to assume that the coding sequence (CDS) of a protein-coding transcript model is the feature that is of primary interest to most people who use Ensembl. However, both the 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions (UTRs) are important biological entities in their own right, and it is vital that we in Ensembl do the best we can to represent them accurately. However, the annotation of these UTRs is complicated, so we’re going to focus on exploring the annotation process for 3’ UTRs in this article (Figure 1).

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Trixie the Triceratops

Ensembl produce high quality gene annotation for a number of species, but getting it to the high quality we expect takes time. This means there are many species and strains where we don’t have annotation yet. If you’re working with a species without Ensembl annotation (like Trixie the Triceratops here) or even a specific strain that we don’t have, you can still make use of VEP for predicting the effect of variants on genes and transcripts, using your own annotation. All you need is a GFF or GTF of the transcripts, and a FASTA file of the genome.

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You might know that we offer training courses on using the Ensembl browser, but did you know that we also offer Ensembl REST API and Ensembl Train the Trainer courses? We can come to you to deliver any of these courses at your institute and we don’t charge any fees. If you’re in a low-middle income country, we don’t even charge you for expenses.

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