On the Bambct mailing list the other day I saw this announcement (and spreading the word was encouraged):

I have a non-standard post, but one that will hopefully be of interest to this community. A group of us in the systems biology department at Harvard Medical have built a database to store useful biological numbers (, such as cell and organelle sizes, diffusion coefficients, protein concentrations, and much more ranging from molecular biology to physiology and ecology.


We built the database because of a common realization of how many hours it can take to find even the most trivial numbers in the biological literature.And then once the number is found, where to store the information for future use? Bionumbers is more permanent and more searchable than post-it notes. The site is meant to rapidly connect you to literature sources – a sort of Pubmed for numbers, and provide wiki-like to comment on numbers as well as contribute new numbers.


Please check out our database and maybe even enter some numbers you would like to keep track of – all database users will benefit from your entry. BioNumbers is a long-term project and will be continually improved for the foreseeable future. Any suggestions to make the database more useful are very welcome.

I can see the utility of this. On the other mailings lists I’m on I would say there are a bunch of queries about standards for different types of things. Gene counts. Size of chromosomes. Exon size. How many genomes have been sequenced. Blood pressure. Creatine levels. And this stuff is a bit cryptic to locate sometimes. So a wiki for certain numbers that you want to have makes sense to me. As long as you can trace it back to some hard reference or strategy to derive the data, that could be really useful.

BioNumbers is superior to napkins, post-its, and notebooks. (from the web site)

Um….actually, I have 14 post-its right next to me. I should convert a couple to entries over there….



They have a YouTube video to accompany it as well (really needs some audio–there must be some of that gene music that could pair nicely :) ):

I can’t embed the videos with our software, but you can click the worm to go there: