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The USA National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is one of the world’s most important sources of biological information. NCBI databases like PubMed and GenBank contain millions of records describing bibliographic, genetic, genomic, and medical data. Here I present rentrez, a package which provides an R interface to 50 NCBI databases. The package is well-documented, contains an extensive suite of unit tests and has an active user base. The programmatic interface to the NCBI provided by rentrez allows researchers to query databases and download or import particular records into R sessions for subsequent analysis. The complete nature of the package, its extensive test-suite and the fact the package implements the NCBI’s usage policies all make rentrez a powerful aid to developers of new packages that perform more specific tasks.
This version was submitted to The R Journal and fixes a number of typographical errors.