Using the Quick Search Tool
More Help

This help document answers the following questions:

What's the purpose of this tool?

The Quick Search tool provides a swift overview of MGI data with linked results to deeper layers of information.
You can:


How does Quick Search work?

Quick Search attempts to find matches to your input text in several ways:

These three approaches compare your input text to:

In your input text, Quick Search:

Quick Search returns any matches in three sections on a result page:

Quick Search interprets queries as literally as possible and returns exact matches first, followed by less-than-exact matches. The tool parses your text entry into "words" and compares them to "words" in MGI nomenclature data, terms in any MGI-supported vocabulary, or any accession identifier stored in the MGI database. It assigns a score to the data it finds and determines the "goodness" of each match.

Once the results appear, you can look through the three separate categories (Genome Features, Vocabulary Terms, Other Results by ID), select items of interest, modify the search string, and reiterate until you find the most relevant data. Items that appear beneath Vocabulary Terms in the results can teach you the "native language" used in each of the MGI vocabularies, and this in turn can help you frame subsequent queries more accurately.

You can access the annotated data directly using links in the Quick Search Results.


What are the rules for entering text in the Quick Search box?

Combining terms in a search | Stemming to root words | Order (of your entries) | Quotation marks | Case | Wild cards | Number of words allowed | Angle brackets | Other special characters | Separation characters | "Contains" searching | AND, OR, NOT |

In the Quick Search box, you can enter:

Entries can be:

Combining terms in a searchQuick Search does not combine whatever you enter into "meaningful" associations. Rather, it attempts to match as much of your text as possible in individual nomenclature or vocabulary terms, synonyms, or definitions.A search on cadherin hindbrain does not return genes in the cadherin family that are expressed in the hindbrain. To perform complex searches like this, consider using MGI's advanced query forms. Click All Search Tools for a complete list.
Stemming to root words
  • Quick Search stems words: it removes suffixes and searches using root words.
  • Quick Search stems words even when they are enclosed in quotation marks.
  • A search for stem cell factor receptor binding searches for stem-, cell- (e.g. cellular), factor-, recept- (e.g. reception); bind- (e.g. binds).
  • A search for cell division also looks for cell- divis-.
Order (of your entries)Does not matter (as long as you don't enclose the terms in quotation marks).kit bmp4 returns the same list as bmp4 kit.
Quotation marksEnclose any multi-word string (or part of a string) in quotation marks when searching for entire phrases.
  • "paired box gene 6"
  • "kit ligand"
  • "vitamin D metabolism"
  • "forebrain;hippocampus"
  • "left/right" patterning
  • "interleukin 18" protein
CaseQuick Search is not case sensitive.KIT returns same results as searching on Kit, kIt, or kit.
Wild cards
  • Use only the asterisk character, and only at the end of a word or text string.
  • Currently, using a wild card on one word prevents stemming on all other words. To be sure to retrieve all words with the same root, use a wild card in the appropriate place on all words.
  • Kit*
  • Kit lig*
  • embry* develop*
  • hippocamp* layer
For best results, use wild cards on scientific or medical terms which the stemming algorithm may not recognize.
  • hippocamp*  finds hippocampus, hippocampi, hippocampal
  • cell*  finds cell, cells, cellular, cell-like
  • embry*  finds embryo, embryonic, embryonal, embryoes, embryogenesis
  • nucle*  finds nucleus, nucleosis, nucleosome, nucleolar.
Number of words allowed32 Use the MGI Batch Query for longer lists of genome features or accession IDs.
Angle bracketsUse to enclose superscripts in gene and allele nomenclature.fas<lpr>
Other special charactersQuick Search treats ampersands, embedded asterisks, brackets, hyphens, parentheses, slashes, etc. as valid characters. The complete list is ~!@#$%^&*(_)-+={}\|[]:;'<>?/
  • RP23-100A23
  • Hprt<1tm1(UAS-Bmp4)Bhr>
  • Tg(Igh-6-cre/ESR1)30Afst
  • NM_001122899
  • Gt(pU21)103Imeg
Separation charactersThe presence of some special characters is important when, for example, they occur within nomenclature but not important when the occurance is within a text string.A search for the text t cell or t-cell yields the same results.
"Contains" searchingQuick Search does not perform "contains" or "prefix" searches by default.
  • Use a wild card when you want to do prefix searching.
  • Use the advanced MGI query forms for "contains" searches.
  • Entering cardial does not return results for myocardial.
  • Entering ax does not return results for Pax.
  • Entering Trim returns results for Trat1 (because Trim is a synonym) and phenotypes annotated with whisper trimming, but if what you really want is a list of all tripartite motif-containing genes, use the wild card and enter Trim*. For a specific tripartite motif-containing gene, enter e.g. Trim10.

Do not use.Quick Search handles both AND & OR Boolean searches automatically.
* Use NOT only when it appears in the text of terms or definitions, especially in OMIM disease names.


About Quick Search Results...

Sections:  Genome Features | Vocabulary Terms | Other Results by ID | Search MGI with Google
Columns :   Score | Best Match
Other information:   Helpful tips | See Details for this search | Your Input Welcome

The Quick Search Results include lists of:

From the Quick Search Results, you can:

Sections on the Quick Search Results page

Genome Features
  • The list includes genes, QTLs, cytogenetic genome features, alleles, gene trap cell lines, and other genome features whose name, symbol, synonym, or accession ID matches some or all of your entry. See Genome Feature Types for a complete list.
  • The list also includes genome features associated with vocabulary terms matching your search text. A search with a mouse anatomy term will return genome features whose expression has been detected in the structure.
  • Cell line ID searches return only allele matches (and not both gene and allele matches).
  • Items (in blue) are linked to their relevant MGI gene detail pages.
  • Results are ranked by Score.
  • Chr (chromosome), Location (genome coordinates), and Str (strand, + or -) appear for results with this data. Offsets (cM position or cytogenetic band) appear, if available, when there is no chromosome data.
  • The Best Match column lists one of the best reasons why an item is returned. Links from this column go to an All Matches page displaying additional reasons for the return.
  • Clicking Get more data for genome features 1 through nn forwards any returned genes to the MGI Batch Query. Alleles are not forwarded; only genes for any returned alleles are forwarded.
  • The Batch Query form presents more data (symbols, MGI genome feature IDs, genome locations), more links, and some modification options (see Using the MGI Batch Query for complete details).
  • Depending on availability, the first ten matches appear in the display. A display at the bottom of this section indicates the total number of matches found. A link provides access to the first 100 matching items. You can paginate through the full list of all matching genome features.
See also Quick Search Examples and Questions for additional search and match information.
Vocabulary Terms
This area of Quick Search Results identifies and gives the best reason for any matches found in the MGI vocabularies (DO, GO, EMAPA, MP, InterPro, OMIM, PIRSF), provides a link (when available) to that term in the given vocabulary, and to any associated MGI data (when available).
Use the Vocabulary Terms section to:
  • learn MGI's official terms
  • focus on detailed research topics
  • explore related research areas
  • investigate alternative paths to data.
Depending on availability, the first ten matches appear in the display. A link at the bottom of the vocabulary section provides access to the first 100 matching terms. From this page, you can paginate through the full list of all matching vocabulary terms.
The Associated Data column provides links to the Human Disease and Mouse Model Detail page where you can find information about mouse models and mouse/human orthologies. Note: MGI may not contain evidence that a mutation in a mouse gene presents a model for a disease, yet if that mouse gene is orthologous to a human gene associated with a disease, it is listed as a disease ortholog.
See Scores and Best Match for information about the data appearing in these columns.
Other Results by ID
If your query contains one or more accession IDs for a non-genome feature or non-vocabulary object, such matches appear in this section. Results are linked to the sequence, orthology relationship, or other accession identifier matching a Quick Search box entry.
Search MGI with Google
When you perform a Quick Search query, your search term also appears in the Search MGI with Google box. You can use it to locate MGI web pages containing this (or any other) term(s). The search extends to the following types of MGI web page content:
  • FAQs
  • Help text
  • reference abstracts
  • phenotypic details for alleles
  • sequence descriptions
  • image captions.
This search works following Google's algorithms on versions of pages indexed from the MGI site. For example, enter: skeletal dysplasia, Pax6. The MGI Google Quick Search returns a list cached MGI pages where all the terms appeared.

Columns on the Quick Search Results page

Results are grouped into tiers and scored within these tiers by best match using a designation of four stars, three stars, two stars, or one star.
  • Four stars There is an exact match between what you entered and an ID, symbol, name, synonym, or vocabulary item in MGI. Genome features with nomenclature matches appear first, followed by genome features associated with vocabulary matches.
  • Three stars
    All the words you entered are present in the matched item, but the matched item also contains additional words.
    Search engine (Lucene) scores determine the order of this tier. Genome features with better matches are at the top, and nomenclature matches appear before vocabulary matches. The score takes into account such things as number and frequency of matching words, stemmed versus unstemmed results, and spacing. Genome features or vocabulary terms with the same Lucene score are sorted alphanumerically by symbol.
  • Two stars A single word or ID in your entry matches the nomenclature or ID of a genome feature, or the ID of a vocabulary term. For example, searching for absent hippocampus CA1 region returns alleles associated with this phenotype term and also returns CA1 carbonic anhydrase 1 because CA1 matches the orthologous human gene symbol.
  • One star
    Quick Search matched some but not all of your terms. Search engine (Lucene) scores determine order in this tier. Genome features with better matches appear at the top, and nomenclature matches appear before vocabulary matches. The score takes into account such things as number and frequency of matching words, stemmed versus unstemmed results, and spacing. Genome features or vocabulary terms with the same Lucene score are alphanumerically sorted by symbol.
Best Match
In the Genome Features section, the Best Match column displays the nomenclature, ID, or vocabulary terms associated with each genome feature that is the closest match to your query. Sometimes, a Best Match vocabulary term apparently has no matching text; this happens when a higher level, "parent" term matches your query. The displayed term is the more specific "child" term directly associated with the genome feature.
To see any additional associated nomenclature, IDs, or vocabulary terms matching the query, click and more...
In the Vocabulary Terms section, this column displays the text element that is the closest match to the query. This may be the term itself, a synonym, or part of the term's definition. Where the text is lengthy, only the beginning of the best matching element appears.

Other information on the Quick Search Results page

Helpful Tips
Using your mouse, hover over an area of interest. If there is more information on a topic, a pop-up window appears.
See Details for this Search
Click to see a brief summary of how Quick Search performed this query. Some or all of the following appear:
  • a list of what it tried to match (e.g. TS12, dysplasia, OTTMUSG00000015949)
  • what words it stemmed to root words (e.g. metabolism is stemmed to metabol- so that additional material is matched).
  • words, numbers, or letters excluded from this search (e.g. stop words, numbers 0-99, and single alpha characters with non-relevant results)
  • wild card errors (e.g. only acceptable at the end of a term or symbol unless part of a gene name)
Terms that Quick Search cannot find appear (in red) next to See Details.... Frequently, this is a clue that a term is misspelled. A message also appears when Quick Search finds no matches whatsoever on your word(s) or phrase(s).
Note: Some mistakes in your entry text, such as an odd number of quotation marks, more than 32 words, or no search terms submitted, result in the appearance of a system message to that effect. Click OK, resolve the issue, and search again.
Your Input Welcome
Click to submit comments or questions about your query to our User Support staff. They will review them and take appropriate action.

Are there examples of the accession IDs that Quick Search can find?

See Querying by Accession ID - Results and Examples.


When should I use Quick Search vs. an individual MGI query form?

It depends on what you are looking for and the depth of information you need. In general, use the Quick Search when you are looking for something specific or are expecting only a few results. You can also use the Quick Search to run a broad search to explore MGI and see the depth of our data. Like using Google to search the Internet, your Quick Search results can be hit or miss. You will get results you weren't expecting, though the best results will sort to the top.

The query forms give you more power over your search. One of the strengths of MGI is data integration. This allows you to search across multiple data sets. For example, you can use the Genes & Markers Query to find all the protein coding genes and microRNAs mapped to mouse Chromosome 2, whose products are involved in axon guidance and have alleles that show an eye phenotype. In this example you narrowed the mapping search to Chr 2, the Feature Types to just protein coding genes and microRNAs, the Gene Ontology to just axon guidance and its subterms, and the phenotype to just eye phenotypes.

The table summarizes the differences between the two types of searches.

 Should I use MGI Quick Search?or an MGI query form?
Are any results dependent upon established relationships among MGI data?Yes. MGI's vocabularies are DAG structures or hierarchies.Yes. (DAG, hierarchy)
Does it provide a quick view of all MGI data related to a term or phrase?Yes. (Quick Search Results + linked data)No.
Does it search all MGI vocabularies?Yes.
Any Developmental Anatomy, DO, GO, InterPro, OMIM, MP, or PIRSF results appear under Vocabulary Terms; Adult Mouse Anatomy results appear in Other Results by ID.
You must use the individual vocabulary query forms or separate vocabulary search boxes on the Genes & Markers; Phenotypes, Alleles & Disease Models; or Mouse Sequence query forms.
Does it find mouse orthologs for human disease genes?
(possible research candidates)
Yes (Quick Search Results + linked data)No.
Can it cross boundaries between subject areas?
For example, can I find genes with a particular molecular function expressed in a specific tissue?
...combine a nomenclature query with a GO or MP term and a disease?
...confine the search to a specific coordinate range or Theiler stage?
No.Yes. Click All Search Tools for a complete list of all available MGI query forms.
Can I choose how my results are sorted? No.Yes, many MGI query forms allow you to customize your output in this way.
"Contains" searching?No.Yes.


More questions and examples

See Quick Search Examples and Questions.

Use the "Your Input Welcome" button, the Contact User Support form, or call (207) 288-6445 for help locating information relevant to your research.