Future Plans

The following updates are planned for upcoming releases of Ensembl.

Please note that we have no fixed timeline for most of these items

Gene annotation

  • Genebuilds in progress:
  • Upcoming genebuilds:
  • Please note: We are in the process of moving our gene annotation methods into the eHive system. We’ll write a blog post about this in 2017
  • Ensembl release 87 (expected December 2016):
    • New lincRNA annotation for Nile tilapia, spotted gar, opossum and platypus
    • Updated gene sets for mouse (GENCODE M12), chicken and zebrafish
    • New RNA-seq models for zebrafish, for 18 stages of embryonic development
  • Ensembl release 88 (expected March 2017)
    • Updates to human and mouse GENCODE gene sets
  • Ensembl release 89 (expected May 2017)
    • Pig Sscrofa11
    • Several new rodent assemblies
  • Regular updates
    • Minor assembly updates for human and mouse:  incorporation of new alternate sequence provided by the GRC, with basic gene annotation.
    • Planned updates to human, mouse, rat and zebrafish gene sets:  incorporation of HAVANA manual annotation. For mouse, the gene set is updated every release. For human and zebrafish, the gene sets are updated every second release.

Comparative Genomics

  • Incorporate an HMM-based classification of protein sequences for the Protein-Trees pipeline
  • Improved detection of partial / split genes

Variation updates

  • Continue to import new variation data from dbSNP and DGVa where available.
  • Improve variation annotation using publicly available variant, phenotype and disease data.
  • Continue to import genome wide association study phenotypes for variants from the EBI-NHGRI Catalog, and variants and phenotypes from OMIM, Orphanet, OMIA and other sources.
  • Include phenotype data for structural variants.

Core API and schema

  • Switchable adaptors to serve data from sources other than MySQL databases
  • Megabase sized feature density tracks
  • Support for cigar and vulgar alignments
  • More efficient external reference assignment pipeline
  • FTP web tool for customisable file download
  • Transcript archive to retrieve sequence for retired features
  • TrackHub registry server


  • Integrate more cell types (Roadmap Epigenomics, HipSci…)
  • Integrate more TFBS PWMs (e.g. SELEX, UniProbe…)
  • Attach regulatory elements to genes via eQTLs, chromatin conformation data, etc.
  • Development of DNA methylation tracks i.e. high level summaries and differentially and variably methylated regions
  • Annotate epigenomic markers of phenotype or differentiation
  • Web display developments:
    • Further refinements of wiggle track config/display including track highlighting
    • MotifFeature view incorporating variation consequences
  • Incorporating ChIP-seq data from further species for possible additional regulatory builds.
  • Investigate regulatory feature orthologs and/or comparative views

New web features

  • Complete the rework of Export / Download functionality
  • Redesign Protein Summary View
  • Extend Genoverse to support TrackHubs and uploaded user data


  • Investigate ways to improve scalability and retrievability of the data from the various marts.
  • Continue to incorporate new filters and attributes to the marts as new data is added to the Ensembl schemas.