BioCarta - Charting Pathways of Life
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How do I use Pathways?
Pathways render lengthy and elaborate verbal descriptions of gene-to-gene interactions into easy-to-read diagrams. These diagrams constantly evolve as new research better or differently determines the molecular relationships in more detail. For researchers and students, Pathways provides what cannot be found elsewhere - totally current pictorial renditions of genetic research-in-progress for over 120,000 genes from the most often-researched species.

Moreover, the gene symbols in Pathways are linked and clickable, which allows researchers to use the Pathway diagrams in a functioning, graphical interface with BioCarta's gene database.

BioCarta works with the entire life science research community -300,000 strong - to develop our content. Similar to the way "open source" programmers have built the Linux operating system, our technology incorporates the input of each scientist from his or her particular niche or specialization into our all-inclusive model. In this way, the entire research community builds, updates and corrects the model, making it ever more informed and accurate.

Some Pathways have a "Guru," a recognized specialist in his or her field of research who functions as a sort of caretaker to the Pathway. It is his or her responsibility to answer questions from BioCarta members and make sure the Pathway keeps pace with discovery. As scientists submit new Pathways and/or corrections, Gurus weigh whether the input should still be regarded as speculative, or if it is irrefutable. Members of the Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of recognized leaders in their respective fields, will moderate submissions from those Pathways without Gurus. BioCarta engineers create new graphics or modify existing ones and integrate proteomic information as it emerges. They also specify whether the information is speculative or established.

How do I navigate Pathways?
Click on the desired Pathway Category. This will give you a list of all the Pathways in that category. Click on the desired Pathway to view it. If you know of a Pathway and don't see it you may submit it to BioCarta for addition to the site.

How do I use the Pathways to query the database for links?
Clicking on the Pathway will query BioCarta's database for the requested gene symbol. (See Gene Search) As with the gene search, this will direct you to information related to the molecule, gene, and Pathway such as abstracts, references and reviews.

How do I see previous editions of a Pathway?
Click on the revisions history button in the upper, right-hand corner of each Pathway page. This will bring up a list of previous Pathway versions.

How do I save a link on the Pathway?
Before this function will work, you must first become a BioCarta member. It's a fast, easy process. Simply go to My BioCarta and sign in. After you register, you only have to click on Save Link on a specified Gene Search screen. Your My BioCarta account will automatically store your search parameters, allowing you to easily repeat the search and stay updated on the latest scientific developments for that specific gene.

How do I comment on a Pathway?
Researchers can exchange information relevant to any Pathway by clicking on the Comment on this Pathway button at the top of each Pathway screen. A new window will open containing the relevant Web board discussion - just get started!

How do I submit changes to an existing Pathway?
BioCarta accepts submissions from anyone. Submit suggested modifications to existing online Pathways by e-mailing BioCarta at Tell us who you are, how to reach you, and what changes you suggest.

How do I submit a new Pathway?
BioCarta accepts submissions from anyone. To submit a new pathway, simply click the Submit a Pathway button on the right side of the screen.

How do I draw a diagram?
Although we accept drawings in any format (Canvas, MacDraw, even a paper napkin!), we encourage you to use the BioCarta templates. Our Macromedia Freehand 9.0 template has the following advantages:
  • Easy-to-use molecular icons and cellular structures
  • Automatic hyperlinks to genes
  • Consistent visual look
  • Faster posting to the BioCarta site
We have provided the template in earlier versions of Freehand as well as in Adobe Illustrator but NOTE that these do not contain the automatic hyperlinks to genes.

To download and use BioCarta templates, click on Download Pathway Tools on the bottom of the main Pathways page.

How do I access my Pathway once I've saved it?
You will not be able to edit it once you have submitted it to us for approval. You can, however, privately view your submission while it is in the approval process via My BioCarta.

What do I do if there is too much information for a BioCarta template?
Sometimes a Pathway has more information than can be rendered using the current BioCarta template. Feel free to submit the drawing in another format. BioCarta will use your original picture, via hyperlink, until we can update our template to accommodate your data.

What if my Pathway depicts data similar to another submission?
BioCarta will combine your Pathway with that of other submissions on the same topic, forming one definitive Pathway. Gurus clarify the role of suggested modifications in a given Pathway. Following this, our technicians will modify the Pathway to reflect the latest approved findings.

What about attribution?
Once you have submitted a Pathway and it has been approved and placed on BioCarta, your name will be placed on that Pathway as "Submitted by" along with your email address. You can also be an anonymous contributor, if you choose.

How do I become a Guru?
If you are a recognized specialist in the field of inquiry indicated by a Pathway, you may be qualified to become a Pathway Guru. Simply click on "Become a Pathway Guru" at the bottom, center of the main Pathway page. This will link you to an email page. Please send us your name, qualifications, any links to published research, your telephone number and two references.

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