Biological databases are an important tool in assisting scientists to understand and explain a host of biological phenomena from the structure of biomolecules and their interaction, to the whole metabolism of organisms and to understanding the evolution of species. This knowledge helps facilitate the fight against diseases, assists in the development of medications and in discovering basic relationships amongst species in the history of life.
Biological knowledge is distributed amongst many different general and specialized databases. This sometimes makes it difficult to ensure the consistency of information. Biological databases cross-reference other databases withaccession numbers as one way of linking their related knowledge together.
An important resource for finding biological databases is a special yearly issue of the journal Nucleic Acids Research (NAR). The Database Issue of NAR is freely available, and categorizes many of the publicly available online databases related to biology and bioinformatics. The Bioinformatics Links Directory features curated links to molecular resources, tools and databases.