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The Reference Sequence (RefSeq) database is an open access, annotated collection of publicly available nucleotide sequences (DNA, RNA) and their protein translations. This database is built by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and, unlike GenBank, provides only one example of each natural biological molecule for major organisms ranging from viruses to bacteria to eukaryotes.

For each model organism, RefSeq aims to provide separate and linked records for the genomic DNA, the gene transcripts, and the proteins arising from those transcripts. RefSeq is limited to major organisms for which sufficient data is available (almost 4,000 distinct “named” organisms as of January 2007), while GenBank includes sequences for any organism submitted (approximately 250,000 different named organisms).

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