NAR Molecular Biology Database Collection entry number 918
The Rockefeller University

Database Description

The GENSAT (Gene Expression Nervous System ATlas) database captures information on gene expression in mouse brain at several developmental ages. The project began at Rockefeller University in New York under the direction of Nat Heintz, and has since expanded to include additional experimental protocols authored by Tom Curran at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The GENSAT project seeks to map the expression of all genes expressed in mouse brain at four different developmental ages - embryonic days 10.5 and 15.5, post-natal day 7, and adult.

The GENSAT project has mapped 2,148 genes to date. The data are available at NCBI in the form of a searchable image database. Images from the Rockefeller University data set include both confocal and brightfield images at very high resolutions, demonstrating expression at the resolution of cell bodies and processes; images from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital set include high-throughput in situ hybridization images. All images are browseable in their original unmodified form, as well as several levels of resolution designed to aid interactivity. In addition, the images from Rockefeller University have a searchable set of human-curated annotations remarking expression levels and patterns in a wide variety of anatomical structures. The GENSAT project's techniques are described in the paper "A gene expression atlas of the central nervous system based on bacterial artificial chromosomes", published in Nature in 2003 (

The GENSAT database is available at NCBI through two search interfaces. The primary Entrez search interface is found at: Simply searching for a gene symbol or gene name will return information about that gene. An additional search interface exists, allowing a finer-grained level of control over the returned results; this can be found at: This second search interface permits easier subsetting of the data based on regional expression patterns. Additional information on the GENSAT project is available from Rockefeller University at and from St. Jude Children's Research Insititute at


1. Gong S., Zheng C., Doughty M.L., Losos K., Didkovsky N., Schambra U.B., Nowak N.J., Joyner A., Leblanc G., Hatten M.E., Heintz N. (2003) A gene expression atlas of the central nervous system based on bacterial artificial chromosomes. Nature. 425: 917-925.

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