The Developmental Brain Disorders Database (DBDB): A curated neurogenetics knowledge base with clinical and research applications

Ghayda M. Mirzaa, Kathleen J. Millen, A. James Barkovich, William B. Dobyns, Alex R. Paciorkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The number of single genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders has increased dramatically over the past decade. The identification of causative genes for these disorders is important to clinical outcome as it allows for accurate assessment of prognosis, genetic counseling, delineation of natural history, inclusion in clinical trials, and in some cases determines therapy. Clinicians face the challenge of correctly identifying neurodevelopmental phenotypes, recognizing syndromes, and prioritizing the best candidate genes for testing. However, there is no central repository of definitions for many phenotypes, leading to errors of diagnosis. Additionally, there is no system of levels of evidence linking genes to phenotypes, making it difficult for clinicians to know which genes are most strongly associated with a given condition. We have developed the Developmental Brain Disorders Database (DBDB:, a publicly available, online-curated repository of genes, phenotypes, and syndromes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. DBDB contains the first referenced ontology of developmental brain phenotypes, and uses a novel system of levels of evidence for gene-phenotype associations. It is intended to assist clinicians in arriving at the correct diagnosis, select the most appropriate genetic test for that phenotype, and improve the care of patients with developmental brain disorders. For researchers interested in the discovery of novel genes for developmental brain disorders, DBDB provides a well-curated source of important genes against which research sequencing results can be compared. Finally, DBDB allows novel observations about the landscape of the neurogenetics knowledge base.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1503-1511
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinformatics
  • Database
  • Developmental brain disorders
  • Levels of evidence


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