Genomicus (http://www.dyogen.ens.fr/genomicus/) is a database and an online tool that allows easy comparative genomic visualization in >150 eukaryote genomes. It provides a way to explore spatial information related to gene organization within and between genomes and temporal relationships related to gene and genome evolution. For the specific vertebrate phylum, it also provides access to ancestral gene order reconstructions and conserved non-coding elements information. We extended the Genomicus database originally dedicated to vertebrate to four new clades, including plants, non-vertebrate metazoa, protists and fungi. This visualization tool allows evolutionary phylogenomics analysis and exploration. Here, we describe the graphical modules of Genomicus and show how it is capable of revealing differential gene loss and gain, segmental or genome duplications and study the evolution of a locus through homology relationships.
Gramene (www.gramene.org) is a curated resource for genetic, genomic and comparative genomics data for the major crop species, including rice, maize, wheat and many other plant (mainly grass) species. Gramene is an open-source project. All data and software are freely downloadable through the ftp site (ftp.gramene.org/pub/gramene) and available for use without restriction. Gramene's core data types include genome assembly and annotations, other DNA/mRNA sequences, genetic and physical maps/markers, genes, quantitative trait loci (QTLs), proteins, ontologies, literature and comparative mappings. Since our last NAR publication 2 years ago, we have updated these data types to include new datasets and new connections among them. Completely new features include rice pathways for functional annotation of rice genes; genetic diversity data from rice, maize and wheat to show genetic variations among different germplasms; large-scale genome comparisons among Oryza sativa and its wild relatives for evolutionary studies; and the creation of orthologous gene sets and phylogenetic trees among rice, Arabidopsis thaliana, maize, poplar and several animal species (for reference purpose). We have significantly improved the web interface in order to provide a more user-friendly browsing experience, including a dropdown navigation menu system, unified web page for markers, genes, QTLs and proteins, and enhanced quick search functions.
Genome Browsers are software that allow the user to view genome annotations in the context of a reference sequence, such as a chromosome, contig, scaffold, etc. The Generic Genome Browser (GBrowse) is an open source genome browser package developed as part of the Generic Model Database Project (see Unit 9.9; Stein et at., 2002). The increasing number of sequenced genomes has to a corresponding growth in the field of comparative genomics, which requires methods to view and compare multiple genomes. Using the same software framework as GBrowse, the Generic Synteny Browser (GBrowse_syn) allows the comparison of co-linear regions of multiple genomes using the familiar GBrowse-style web page. Like GBrowse, GBrowse_syn can be configured to display any organism and is currently the synteny browser used for model organisms such as C. elegans (WormBase; www.wormbase.org; see Unit 1.8) and Arabidopsis (TAIR; www.arabidopsis.org; see Unit 1.11). GBrowse_syn is part of the GBrowse software package and can be downloaded from the web and run on any unix-like operating system, such as Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X etc. GBrowse_syn is still under active development. This unit will cover installation and configuration as part of the current stable version of GBrowse (v1.71).
The number of databases in molecular biological fields has rapidly increased to provide a large-scale resource. Though valuable information is available, data can be difficult to access, compare and integrate due to different formats and presentations of web interfaces. This paper offers a practical guide to the integration of gene, comparative genomic, and functional genomics data using the Ensembl website at http://www.ensembl.org.
The Ensembl genome browser and underlying databases focus on chordate organisms. More species such as plants and microorganisms can be investigated using our sister browser at http://www.ensemblgenomes.org.
In this study, four examples are used that sample many pages and features of the Ensembl browser. We focus on comparative studies across over 50 mostly chordate organisms, variations linked to disease, functional genomics, and access of external information housed in databases outside the Ensembl project. Researchers will learn how to go beyond simply exporting one gene sequence, and explore how a genome browser can integrate data from various sources and databases to build a full and comprehensive biological picture.
In response to a need for a general catalog of genome variation
to address the large-scale sampling designs required by association
studies, gene mapping and evolutionary biology, the National Center
for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has established the dbSNP database [S.T.Sherry,
M.Ward and K.Sirotkin (1999) Genome Res., 9, 677–679]. Submissions
to dbSNP will be integrated with other sources of information at
NCBI such as GenBank, PubMed, LocusLink and the Human Genome Project data.
The complete contents of dbSNP are available to the public at website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/SNP. The
complete contents of dbSNP can also be downloaded in multiple formats
via anonymous FTP at ftp://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/.
The "small phylogeny" problem consists in inferring ancestral genomes associated with each internal node of a phylogenetic tree of a set of extant species. Existing methods can be grouped into two main categories: the distance-based methods aiming at minimizing a total branch length, and the synteny-based (or mapping) methods that first predict a collection of relations between ancestral markers in term of "synteny", and then assemble this collection into a set of Contiguous Ancestral Regions (CARs). The predicted CARs are likely to be more reliable as they are more directly deduced from observed conservations in extant species. However the challenge is to end up with a completely assembled genome.
We develop a new synteny-based method that is flexible enough to handle a model of evolution involving whole genome duplication events, in addition to rearrangements, gene insertions, and losses. Ancestral relationships between markers are defined in term of Gapped Adjacencies, i.e. pairs of markers separated by up to a given number of markers. It improves on a previous restricted to direct adjacencies, which revealed a high accuracy for adjacency prediction, but with the drawback of being overly conservative, i.e. of generating a large number of CARs. Applying our algorithm on various simulated data sets reveals good performance as we usually end up with a completely assembled genome, while keeping a low error rate.
All source code is available at http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~mabrouk.
In response to a need for a general catalog of genome variation to address the large-scale sampling designs required by association studies, gene mapping and evolutionary biology, the National Cancer for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has established the dbSNP database. Submissions to dbSNP will be integrated with other sources of information at NCBI such as GenBank, PubMed, LocusLink and the Human Genome Project data. The complete contents of dbSNP are available to the public at website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/SNP . Submitted SNPs can also be downloaded via anonymous FTP at ftp://ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/snp/
The mission of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, is to ensure that the growing body of information from molecular biology and genome research is placed in the public domain and is accessible freely to all parts of the scientific community in ways that promote scientific progress. To fulfil this mission, the EBI provides a wide variety of free, publicly available bioinformatics services. These can be divided into data submissions processing; access to query, analysis and retrieval systems and tools; ftp downloads of software and databases; training and education and user support. All of these services are available at the EBI website: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/services. This paper provides a detailed introduction to the interactive analysis systems that are available from the EBI and a brief introduction to other, related services.
Ensembl Genomes (http://www.ensemblgenomes.org) is a new portal offering integrated access to genome-scale data from non-vertebrate species of scientific interest, developed using the Ensembl genome annotation and visualisation platform. Ensembl Genomes consists of five sub-portals (for bacteria, protists, fungi, plants and invertebrate metazoa) designed to complement the availability of vertebrate genomes in Ensembl. Many of the databases supporting the portal have been built in close collaboration with the scientific community, which we consider as essential for maintaining the accuracy and usefulness of the resource. A common set of user interfaces (which include a graphical genome browser, FTP, BLAST search, a query optimised data warehouse, programmatic access, and a Perl API) is provided for all domains. Data types incorporated include annotation of (protein and non-protein coding) genes, cross references to external resources, and high throughput experimental data (e.g. data from large scale studies of gene expression and polymorphism visualised in their genomic context). Additionally, extensive comparative analysis has been performed, both within defined clades and across the wider taxonomy, and sequence alignments and gene trees resulting from this can be accessed through the site.
Summary: Genomes undergo large structural changes that alter their organization. The chromosomal regions affected by these rearrangements are called breakpoints, while those which have not been rearranged are called synteny blocks. Lemaitre et al. presented a new method to precisely delimit rearrangement breakpoints in a genome by comparison with the genome of a related species. Receiving as input a list of one2one orthologous genes found in the genomes of two species, the method builds a set of reliable and non-overlapping synteny blocks and refines the regions that are not contained into them. Through the alignment of each breakpoint sequence against its specific orthologous sequences in the other species, we can look for weak similarities inside the breakpoint, thus extending the synteny blocks and narrowing the breakpoints. The identification of the narrowed breakpoints relies on a segmentation algorithm and is statistically assessed. Here, we present the package Cassis that implements this method of precise detection of genomic rearrangement breakpoints.
Availability: Perl and R scripts are freely available for download at http://pbil.univ-lyon1.fr/software/Cassis/. Documentation with methodological background, technical aspects, download and setup instructions, as well as examples of applications are available together with the package. The package was tested on Linux and Mac OS environments and is distributed under the GNU GPL License.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
To better understand the genomic organization and evolution of Sox genes in vertebrates, we cytogenetically mapped Sox2 and Sox14 genes in cichlid fishes and performed comparative analyses of their orthologs in several vertebrate species. The genomic regions neighbouring Sox2 and Sox14 have been conserved during vertebrate diversification. Although cichlids seem to have undergone high rates of genomic rearrangements, Sox2 and Sox14 are linked in the same chromosome in the Etroplinae Etroplus maculatus that represents the sister group of all remaining cichlids. However, this genes are located on different chromosomes in several species of the sister group Pseudocrenilabrinae. Similarly the ancestral synteny of Sox2 and Sox14 has been maintained in several vertebrates, but this synteny has been broken independently in all major groups as a consequence of karyotype rearrangements that took place during the vertebrate evolution.
Cichlidae; genome evolution; molecular cytogenetics; chromosome
Summary: QuickGO is a web-based tool that allows easy browsing of the Gene Ontology (GO) and all associated electronic and manual GO annotations provided by the GO Consortium annotation groups QuickGO has been a popular GO browser for many years, but after a recent redevelopment it is now able to offer a greater range of facilities including bulk downloads of GO annotation data which can be extensively filtered by a range of different parameters and GO slim set generation.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The SNP Consortium website (http://snp.cshl.org) has undergone many changes since its initial conception three years ago. The database back end has been changed from the venerable ACeDB to the more scalable MySQL engine. Users can access the data via gene or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) keyword searches and browse or dump SNP data to textfiles. A graphical genome browsing interface shows SNPs mapped onto the genome assembly in the context of externally available gene predictions and other features. SNP allele frequency and genotype data are available via FTP-download and on individual SNP report web pages. SNP linkage maps are available for download and for browsing in a comparative map viewer. All software components of the data coordinating center (DCC) website (http://snp.cshl.org) are open source.
During microbial evolution, genome rearrangement increases with increasing sequence divergence. If the relationship between synteny and sequence divergence can be modeled, gene clusters in genomes of distantly related organisms exhibiting anomalous synteny can be identified and used to infer functional conservation. We applied the phylogenetic pairwise comparison method to establish and model a strong correlation between synteny and sequence divergence in all 634 available Archaeal and Bacterial genomes from the NCBI database and four newly assembled genomes of uncultivated Archaea from an acid mine drainage (AMD) community. In parallel, we established and modeled the trend between synteny and functional relatedness in the 118 genomes available in the STRING database. By combining these models, we developed a gene functional annotation method that weights evolutionary distance to estimate the probability of functional associations of syntenous proteins between genome pairs. The method was applied to the hypothetical proteins and poorly annotated genes in newly assembled acid mine drainage Archaeal genomes to add or improve gene annotations. This is the first method to assign possible functions to poorly annotated genes through quantification of the probability of gene functional relationships based on synteny at a significant evolutionary distance, and has the potential for broad application.
Based on trends between gene sequence divergence and gene order divergence over time, we developed a new synteny-based method to refine functional annotation. This method uses these trends to determine the probability that any two syntenous genes (genes that are sequential in two organisms) are functionally related. Organisms that are distant relatives have few syntenous genes, but these syntenous genes have a very high probability of functional relatedness. We applied this method to newly assembled genomes of co-occurring, uncultivated acid mine drainage Archaea in order to improve their gene annotations. This application revealed important physiological differences between the co-occurring organisms in this clade, including the ability of some but not all of the Archaea to manufacture vitamin B12 and to carry out anaerobic energy metabolism. We also used this method to identify new genes possibly involved in vitamin B12 synthesis, ether lipid synthesis, molybdopterin synthesis and utilization, and microbial immunity through the CRISPR system.
Motivation: BioPAX is a standard language for representing and exchanging models of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. It is widely used by different pathway databases and genomics data analysis software. Currently, the primary source of BioPAX data is direct exports from the curated pathway databases. It is still uncommon for wet-lab biologists to share and exchange pathway knowledge using BioPAX. Instead, pathways are usually represented as informal diagrams in the literature. In order to encourage formal representation of pathways, we describe a software package that allows users to create pathway diagrams using CellDesigner, a user-friendly graphical pathway-editing tool and save the pathway data in BioPAX Level 3 format.
Availability: The plug-in is freely available and can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.pantherdb.org/CellDesigner/plugins/BioPAX/
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
LIGAND is a composite database comprising three sections: ENZYME for the information of enzyme molecules and enzymatic reactions, COMPOUND for the information of metabolites and other chemical compounds, and REACTION for the collection of substrate–product relations. The current release includes 3390 enzymes, 5645 compounds and 5207 reactions. The database is indispensable for the reconstruction of metabolic pathways in the completely sequenced organisms. The LIGAND database can be accessed through the WWW (http://www.genome.ad.jp/dbget/ligand.html ) or may be downloaded by anonymous FTP (ftp://kegg.genome.ad.jp/molecules/ligand/ ).
We present FIGfams, a new collection of over 100 000 protein families that are the product of manual curation and close strain comparison. Using the Subsystem approach the manual curation is carried out, ensuring a previously unattained degree of throughput and consistency. FIGfams are based on over 950 000 manually annotated proteins and across many hundred Bacteria and Archaea. Associated with each FIGfam is a two-tiered, rapid, accurate decision procedure to determine family membership for new proteins. FIGfams are freely available under an open source license. These can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.theseed.org/FIGfams/. The web site for FIGfams is http://www.theseed.org/wiki/FIGfams/
The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Genome Browser (genome.ucsc.edu) is a popular Web-based tool for quickly displaying a requested portion of a genome at any scale, accompanied by a series of aligned annotation “tracks”. The annotations—generated by the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group and external collaborators—display gene predictions, mRNA and expressed sequence tag alignments, simple nucleotide polymorphisms, expression and regulatory data, phenotype and variation data, and pairwise and multiple-species comparative genomics data. All information relevant to a region is presented in one window, facilitating biological analysis and interpretation. The database tables underlying the Genome Browser tracks can be viewed, downloaded, and manipulated using another Web-based application, the UCSC Table Browser. Users can upload data as custom annotation tracks in both browsers for research or educational use. This unit describes how to use the Genome Browser and Table Browser for genome analysis, download the underlying database tables, and create and display custom annotation tracks.
Genome Browser; Table Browser; UCSC; human genome; genome analysis; comparative genomics; human variation; Bioinformatics; Bioinformatics Fundamentals; Biological Databases
Comparative genomics can be used to infer the history of genomic rearrangements that occurred during the evolution of a species. We used the principle of parsimony, applied to aligned synteny blocks from 11 yeast species, to infer the gene content and gene order that existed in the genome of an extinct ancestral yeast about 100 Mya, immediately before it underwent whole-genome duplication (WGD). The reconstructed ancestral genome contains 4,703 ordered loci on eight chromosomes. The reconstruction is complete except for the subtelomeric regions. We then inferred the series of rearrangement steps that led from this ancestor to the current Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome; relative to the ancestral genome we observe 73 inversions, 66 reciprocal translocations, and five translocations involving telomeres. Some fragile chromosomal sites were reused as evolutionary breakpoints multiple times. We identified 124 genes that have been gained by S. cerevisiae in the time since the WGD, including one that is derived from a hAT family transposon, and 88 ancestral loci at which S. cerevisiae did not retain either of the gene copies that were formed by WGD. Sites of gene gain and evolutionary breakpoints both tend to be associated with tRNA genes and, to a lesser extent, with origins of replication. Many of the gained genes in S. cerevisiae have functions associated with ethanol production, growth in hypoxic environments, or the uptake of alternative nutrient sources.
Genomes evolve in structure as well as in DNA sequence. We used data from 11 different yeast species to investigate the process of structural evolution of the genome on the evolutionary path leading to the bakers' yeast S. cerevisiae. We focused on an ancestor that existed about 100 million years ago. We were able to deduce almost the complete set of genes that existed in this ancestor and the order of these genes along its chromosomes. We then identified the complete set of more than 100 structural rearrangements that occurred as this ancestor evolved into S. cerevisiae and found that some places in the genome seem to be fragile sites that have been broken repeatedly during evolution. We also identified 124 genes that must be relatively recent additions into the S. cerevisiae genome because they were not present in this ancestor. These genes include several that play roles in the unique lifestyle of this species, as regards the intensive production and consumption of alcohol.
The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Genome Browser is a popular Web-based tool for quickly displaying a requested portion of a genome at any scale, accompanied by a series of aligned annotation “tracks.” The annotations generated by the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group and external collaborators include gene predictions, mRNA and expressed sequence tag alignments, simple nucleotide polymorphisms, expression and regulatory data, phenotype and variation data, and pairwise and multiple-species comparative genomics data. All information relevant to a region is presented in one window, facilitating biological analysis and interpretation. The database tables underlying the Genome Browser tracks can be viewed, downloaded, and manipulated using another Web-based application, the UCSC Table Browser. Users can upload personal datasets in a wide variety of formats as custom annotation tracks in both browsers for research or educational purposes.
Genome Browser; Table Browser; human genome; genome analysis; comparative genomics; human variation; next-gen sequencing; human genetics analysis; biological databases; BAM
The recent availability of an expanding collection of genome sequences driven by technological advances has facilitated comparative genomics and in particular the identification of synteny among multiple genomes. However, the development of effective and easy-to-use methods for identifying such conserved gene clusters among multiple genomes–synteny blocks–as well as databases, which host synteny blocks from various groups of species (especially eukaryotes) and also allow users to run synteny-identification programs, lags behind.
OrthoClusterDB is a new online platform for the identification and visualization of synteny blocks. OrthoClusterDB consists of two key web pages: Run OrthoCluster and View Synteny. The Run OrthoCluster page serves as web front-end to OrthoCluster, a recently developed program for synteny block detection. Run OrthoCluster offers full control over the functionalities of OrthoCluster, such as specifying synteny block size, considering order and strandedness of genes within synteny blocks, including or excluding nested synteny blocks, handling one-to-many orthologous relationships, and comparing multiple genomes. In contrast, the View Synteny page gives access to perfect and imperfect synteny blocks precomputed for a large number of genomes, without the need for users to retrieve and format input data. Additionally, genes are cross-linked with public databases for effective browsing. For both Run OrthoCluster and View Synteny, identified synteny blocks can be browsed at the whole genome, chromosome, and individual gene level. OrthoClusterDB is freely accessible.
We have developed an online system for the identification and visualization of synteny blocks among multiple genomes. The system is freely available at .
Genome browsers are a common tool used by biologists to visualize genomic features including genes, polymorphisms, and many others. However, existing genome browsers and visualization tools are not well-suited to perform meaningful comparative analysis among a large number of genomes. With the increasing quantity and availability of genomic data, there is an increased burden to provide useful visualization and analysis tools for comparison of multiple collinear genomes such as the large panels of model organisms which are the basis for much of the current genetic research.
We have developed a novel web-based tool for visualizing and analyzing multiple collinear genomes. Our tool illustrates genome-sequence similarity through a mosaic of intervals representing local phylogeny, subspecific origin, and haplotype identity. Comparative analysis is facilitated through reordering and clustering of tracks, which can vary throughout the genome. In addition, we provide local phylogenetic trees as an alternate visualization to assess local variations.
Unlike previous genome browsers and viewers, ours allows for simultaneous and comparative analysis. Our browser provides intuitive selection and interactive navigation about features of interest. Dynamic visualizations adjust to scale and data content making analysis at variable resolutions and of multiple data sets more informative. We demonstrate our genome browser for an extensive set of genomic data sets composed of almost 200 distinct mouse laboratory strains.
AAindex is a database of numerical indices representing various physicochemical and biochemical properties of amino acids and pairs of amino acids. We have added a collection of protein contact potentials to the AAindex as a new section. Accordingly AAindex consists of three sections now: AAindex1 for the amino acid index of 20 numerical values, AAindex2 for the amino acid substitution matrix and AAindex3 for the statistical protein contact potentials. All data are derived from published literature. The database can be accessed through the DBGET/LinkDB system at GenomeNet (http://www.genome.jp/dbget-bin/www_bfind?aaindex) or downloaded by anonymous FTP (ftp://ftp.genome.jp/pub/db/community/aaindex/).
In standard BLAST searches, no information other than the sequences of the query and the database entries is considered. However, in situations where two genes from different species have only borderline similarity in a BLAST search, the discovery that the genes are located within a region of conserved gene order (synteny) can provide additional evidence that they are orthologs. Thus, for interpreting borderline search results, it would be useful to know whether the syntenic context of a database hit is similar to that of the query. This principle has often been used in investigations of particular genes or genomic regions, but to our knowledge it has never been implemented systematically.
We made use of the synteny information contained in the Yeast Gene Order Browser database for 11 yeast species to carry out a systematic search for protein-coding genes that were overlooked in the original annotations of one or more yeast genomes but which are syntenic with their orthologs. Such genes tend to have been overlooked because they are short, highly divergent, or contain introns. The key features of our software - called SearchDOGS - are that the database entries are classified into sets of genomic segments that are already known to be orthologous, and that very weak BLAST hits are retained for further analysis if their genomic location is similar to that of the query. Using SearchDOGS we identified 595 additional protein-coding genes among the 11 yeast species, including two new genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found additional genes for the mating pheromone a-factor in six species including Kluyveromyces lactis.
SearchDOGS has proven highly successful for identifying overlooked genes in the yeast genomes. We anticipate that our approach can be adapted for study of further groups of species, such as bacterial genomes. More generally, the concept of doing sequence similarity searches against databases to which external information has been added may prove useful in other settings.
LIGAND is a composite database comprising three sections: COMPOUND for the information about metabolites and other chemical compounds, REACTION for the collection of substrate–product relations representing metabolic and other reactions, and ENZYME for the information about enzyme molecules. The current release (as of September 7, 2001) includes 7298 compounds, 5166 reactions and 3829 enzymes. In addition to the keyword search provided by the DBGET/LinkDB system, a substructure search to the COMPOUND and REACTION sections is now available through the World Wide Web (http://www.genome.ad.jp/ligand/). LIGAND may be also downloaded by anonymous FTP (ftp://ftp.genome.ad.jp/pub/kegg/ligand/).