The NCBI Structure Group contributes to the broader NCBI effort to provide integrated access to previously disparate data through the Entrez retrieval system. Identification of relationships among those data in turn can lead to new discoveries.
This system was developed because the study of a biological question, such as the molecular mechanism underlying a human disease, is often approached from many angles by many different laboratories -- some might focus on gene identification and sequencing, while others might focus on analyzing protein function and three-dimensional structure, and yet others might study associated genetic variations, gene expression profiles, or phenotypes. Because each group submits its data independently of the others to a public database, the resultant distinct but related data sets may be scattered across a variety of databases.
Recognizing that the sum of the total knowledge is greater than any one part, Entrez brings a wide range of data types from varying sources into a single search system and identifies relationships among records within an individual database and across databases. These associations are presented as Links in Entrez search results displays and in individual database records. Therefore, once you retrieve one data element in Entrez, such as a PubMed record for an article that reports the sequencing of a disease gene, the corresponding sequence data and much more are one click away, as shown in the illustration above.