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1.  From one to many: expanding the Saccharomyces cerevisiae reference genome panel 
In recent years, thousands of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genomes have been sequenced to varying degrees of completion. The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) has long been the keeper of the original eukaryotic reference genome sequence, which was derived primarily from S. cerevisiae strain S288C. Because new technologies are pushing S. cerevisiae annotation past the limits of any system based exclusively on a single reference sequence, SGD is actively working to expand the original S. cerevisiae systematic reference sequence from a single genome to a multi-genome reference panel. We first commissioned the sequencing of additional genomes and their automated analysis using the AGAPE pipeline. Here we describe our curation strategy to produce manually reviewed high-quality genome annotations in order to elevate 11 of these additional genomes to Reference status.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC4795930  PMID: 26989152
2.  Principles of metadata organization at the ENCODE data coordination center 
The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Data Coordinating Center (DCC) is responsible for organizing, describing and providing access to the diverse data generated by the ENCODE project. The description of these data, known as metadata, includes the biological sample used as input, the protocols and assays performed on these samples, the data files generated from the results and the computational methods used to analyze the data. Here, we outline the principles and philosophy used to define the ENCODE metadata in order to create a metadata standard that can be applied to diverse assays and multiple genomic projects. In addition, we present how the data are validated and used by the ENCODE DCC in creating the ENCODE Portal (
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC4792520  PMID: 26980513
4.  The Saccharomyces Genome Database Variant Viewer 
Nucleic Acids Research  2015;44(Database issue):D698-D702.
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; is the authoritative community resource for the Saccharomyces cerevisiae reference genome sequence and its annotation. In recent years, we have moved toward increased representation of sequence variation and allelic differences within S. cerevisiae. The publication of numerous additional genomes has motivated the creation of new tools for their annotation and analysis. Here we present the Variant Viewer: a dynamic open-source web application for the visualization of genomic and proteomic differences. Multiple sequence alignments have been constructed across high quality genome sequences from 11 different S. cerevisiae strains and stored in the SGD. The alignments and summaries are encoded in JSON and used to create a two-tiered dynamic view of the budding yeast pan-genome, available at
PMCID: PMC4702884  PMID: 26578556
5.  ENCODE data at the ENCODE portal 
Nucleic Acids Research  2015;44(Database issue):D726-D732.
The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project is in its third phase of creating a comprehensive catalog of functional elements in the human genome. This phase of the project includes an expansion of assays that measure diverse RNA populations, identify proteins that interact with RNA and DNA, probe regions of DNA hypersensitivity, and measure levels of DNA methylation in a wide range of cell and tissue types to identify putative regulatory elements. To date, results for almost 5000 experiments have been released for use by the scientific community. These data are available for searching, visualization and download at the new ENCODE Portal ( The revamped ENCODE Portal provides new ways to browse and search the ENCODE data based on the metadata that describe the assays as well as summaries of the assays that focus on data provenance. In addition, it is a flexible platform that allows integration of genomic data from multiple projects. The portal experience was designed to improve access to ENCODE data by relying on metadata that allow reusability and reproducibility of the experiments.
PMCID: PMC4702836  PMID: 26527727
6.  H3K4me3 breadth is linked to cell identity and transcriptional consistency 
Cell  2014;158(3):673-688.
Trimethylation of Histone H3 at Lysine 4 (H3K4me3) is a chromatin modification known to mark the transcription start sites of active genes. Here we show that H3K4me3 domains that spread more broadly over genes in a given cell type preferentially mark genes essential for the identity and function of that cell type. Using the broadest H3K4me3 domains as a discovery tool in neural progenitor cells, we identify novel regulators of these cells. Machine learning models reveal that the broadest H3K4me3 domains represent a distinct entity, characterized by increased marks of elongation. Broadest H3K4me3 domains also have more paused polymerase at their promoters, suggesting a unique transcriptional output. Indeed, genes marked by broadest H3K4me3 domains exhibit enhanced transcriptional consistency rather than increased transcriptional levels, and perturbation of H3K4me3 breadth leads to changes in transcriptional consistency. Thus, H3K4me3 breadth contains information that could ensure transcriptional precision at key cell identity/function genes.
PMCID: PMC4137894  PMID: 25083876
8.  AGAPE (Automated Genome Analysis PipelinE) for Pan-Genome Analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120671.
The characterization and public release of genome sequences from thousands of organisms is expanding the scope for genetic variation studies. However, understanding the phenotypic consequences of genetic variation remains a challenge in eukaryotes due to the complexity of the genotype-phenotype map. One approach to this is the intensive study of model systems for which diverse sources of information can be accumulated and integrated. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an extensively studied model organism, with well-known protein functions and thoroughly curated phenotype data. To develop and expand the available resources linking genomic variation with function in yeast, we aim to model the pan-genome of S. cerevisiae. To initiate the yeast pan-genome, we newly sequenced or re-sequenced the genomes of 25 strains that are commonly used in the yeast research community using advanced sequencing technology at high quality. We also developed a pipeline for automated pan-genome analysis, which integrates the steps of assembly, annotation, and variation calling. To assign strain-specific functional annotations, we identified genes that were not present in the reference genome. We classified these according to their presence or absence across strains and characterized each group of genes with known functional and phenotypic features. The functional roles of novel genes not found in the reference genome and associated with strains or groups of strains appear to be consistent with anticipated adaptations in specific lineages. As more S. cerevisiae strain genomes are released, our analysis can be used to collate genome data and relate it to lineage-specific patterns of genome evolution. Our new tool set will enhance our understanding of genomic and functional evolution in S. cerevisiae, and will be available to the yeast genetics and molecular biology community.
PMCID: PMC4363492  PMID: 25781462
9.  Ontology application and use at the ENCODE DCC 
The Encyclopedia of DNA elements (ENCODE) project is an ongoing collaborative effort to create a catalog of genomic annotations. To date, the project has generated over 4000 experiments across more than 350 cell lines and tissues using a wide array of experimental techniques to study the chromatin structure, regulatory network and transcriptional landscape of the Homo sapiens and Mus musculus genomes. All ENCODE experimental data, metadata and associated computational analyses are submitted to the ENCODE Data Coordination Center (DCC) for validation, tracking, storage and distribution to community resources and the scientific community. As the volume of data increases, the organization of experimental details becomes increasingly complicated and demands careful curation to identify related experiments. Here, we describe the ENCODE DCC’s use of ontologies to standardize experimental metadata. We discuss how ontologies, when used to annotate metadata, provide improved searching capabilities and facilitate the ability to find connections within a set of experiments. Additionally, we provide examples of how ontologies are used to annotate ENCODE metadata and how the annotations can be identified via ontology-driven searches at the ENCODE portal. As genomic datasets grow larger and more interconnected, standardization of metadata becomes increasingly vital to allow for exploration and comparison of data between different scientific projects.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC4360730  PMID: 25776021
10.  Saccharomyces cerevisiae S288C genome annotation: a working hypothesis 
Yeast (Chichester, England)  2006;23(12):857-865.
The S. cerevisiae genome is the most well-characterized eukaryotic genome and one of the simplest in terms of identifying open reading frames (ORFs), yet its primary annotation has been updated continually in the decade since its initial release in 1996 (Goffeau et al., 1996). The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; (Hirschman et al., 2006), the community-designated repository for this reference genome, strives to ensure that the S. cerevisiae annotation is as accurate and useful as possible. At SGD, the S. cerevisiae genome sequence and annotation are treated as a working hypothesis, which must be repeatedly tested and refined. In this paper, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the completion of the S. cerevisiae genome sequence, we discuss the ways in which the S. cerevisiae sequence and annotation have changed, consider the multiple sources of experimental and comparative data on which these changes are based, and describe our methods for evaluating, incorporating and documenting these new data.
PMCID: PMC3040122  PMID: 17001629
S. cerevisiae; genome sequence; genome annotation; comparative genomics; exon/intron boundaries
11.  Expanding Yeast Knowledge Online 
Yeast (Chichester, England)  1998;14(16):1453-1469.
The completion of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome sequencing project11 and the continued development of improved technology for large-scale genome analysis have led to tremendous growth in the amount of new yeast genetics and molecular biology data. Efficient organization, presentation, and dissemination of this information are essential if researchers are to exploit this knowledge. In addition, the development of tools that provide efficient analysis of this information and link it with pertinent information from other systems is becoming increasingly important at a time when the complete genome sequences of other organisms are becoming available. The aim of this review is to familiarize biologists with the type of data resources currently available on the World Wide Web (WWW).
PMCID: PMC3037831  PMID: 9885151
World Wide Web; Saccharomyces Genome Database; Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences; Yeast Protein Database
12.  A gene ontology inferred from molecular networks 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(1):10.1038/nbt.2463.
Ontologies have proven very useful for capturing knowledge as a hierarchy of terms and their interrelationships. In biology a major challenge has been to construct ontologies of gene function given incomplete biological knowledge and inconsistencies in how this knowledge is manually curated. Here we show that large networks of gene and protein interactions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be used to infer an ontology whose coverage and power are equivalent to those of the manually curated Gene Ontology (GO). The network-extracted ontology (NeXO) contains 4,123 biological terms and 5,766 term-term relations, capturing 58% of known cellular components. We also explore robust NeXO terms and term relations that were initially not cataloged in GO, a number of which have now been added based on our analysis. Using quantitative genetic interaction profiling and chemogenomics, we find further support for many of the uncharacterized terms identified by NeXO, including multisubunit structures related to protein trafficking or mitochondrial function. This work enables a shift from using ontologies to evaluate data to using data to construct and evaluate ontologies.
PMCID: PMC3654867  PMID: 23242164
13.  The Reference Genome Sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Then and Now 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):389-398.
The genome of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was the first completely sequenced from a eukaryote. It was released in 1996 as the work of a worldwide effort of hundreds of researchers. In the time since, the yeast genome has been intensively studied by geneticists, molecular biologists, and computational scientists all over the world. Maintenance and annotation of the genome sequence have long been provided by the Saccharomyces Genome Database, one of the original model organism databases. To deepen our understanding of the eukaryotic genome, the S. cerevisiae strain S288C reference genome sequence was updated recently in its first major update since 1996. The new version, called “S288C 2010,” was determined from a single yeast colony using modern sequencing technologies and serves as the anchor for further innovations in yeast genomic science.
PMCID: PMC3962479  PMID: 24374639
Saccharomyces cerevisiae; model organism; reference sequence; genome release; S288C
15.  Saccharomyces genome database provides new regulation data 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(Database issue):D717-D725.
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; is the community resource for genomic, gene and protein information about the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, containing a variety of functional information about each yeast gene and gene product. We have recently added regulatory information to SGD and present it on a new tabbed section of the Locus Summary entitled ‘Regulation’. We are compiling transcriptional regulator–target gene relationships, which are curated from the literature at SGD or imported, with permission, from the YEASTRACT database. For nearly every S. cerevisiae gene, the Regulation page displays a table of annotations showing the regulators of that gene, and a graphical visualization of its regulatory network. For genes whose products act as transcription factors, the Regulation page also shows a table of their target genes, accompanied by a Gene Ontology enrichment analysis of the biological processes in which those genes participate. We additionally synthesize information from the literature for each transcription factor in a free-text Regulation Summary, and provide other information relevant to its regulatory function, such as DNA binding site motifs and protein domains. All of the regulation data are available for querying, analysis and download via YeastMine, the InterMine-based data warehouse system in use at SGD.
PMCID: PMC3965049  PMID: 24265222
16.  A guide to best practices for Gene Ontology (GO) manual annotation 
The Gene Ontology Consortium (GOC) is a community-based bioinformatics project that classifies gene product function through the use of structured controlled vocabularies. A fundamental application of the Gene Ontology (GO) is in the creation of gene product annotations, evidence-based associations between GO definitions and experimental or sequence-based analysis. Currently, the GOC disseminates 126 million annotations covering >374 000 species including all the kingdoms of life. This number includes two classes of GO annotations: those created manually by experienced biocurators reviewing the literature or by examination of biological data (1.1 million annotations covering 2226 species) and those generated computationally via automated methods. As manual annotations are often used to propagate functional predictions between related proteins within and between genomes, it is critical to provide accurate consistent manual annotations. Toward this goal, we present here the conventions defined by the GOC for the creation of manual annotation. This guide represents the best practices for manual annotation as established by the GOC project over the past 12 years. We hope this guide will encourage research communities to annotate gene products of their interest to enhance the corpus of GO annotations available to all.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3706743  PMID: 23842463
17.  InterMOD: integrated data and tools for the unification of model organism research 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1802.
Model organisms are widely used for understanding basic biology, and have significantly contributed to the study of human disease. In recent years, genomic analysis has provided extensive evidence of widespread conservation of gene sequence and function amongst eukaryotes, allowing insights from model organisms to help decipher gene function in a wider range of species. The InterMOD consortium is developing an infrastructure based around the InterMine data warehouse system to integrate genomic and functional data from a number of key model organisms, leading the way to improved cross-species research. So far including budding yeast, nematode worm, fruit fly, zebrafish, rat and mouse, the project has set up data warehouses, synchronized data models, and created analysis tools and links between data from different species. The project unites a number of major model organism databases, improving both the consistency and accessibility of comparative research, to the benefit of the wider scientific community.
PMCID: PMC3647165  PMID: 23652793
18.  The new modern era of yeast genomics: community sequencing and the resulting annotation of multiple Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains at the Saccharomyces Genome Database 
The first completed eukaryotic genome sequence was that of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; is the original model organism database. SGD remains the authoritative community resource for the S. cerevisiae reference genome sequence and its annotation, and continues to provide comprehensive biological information correlated with S. cerevisiae genes and their products. A diverse set of yeast strains have been sequenced to explore commercial and laboratory applications, and a brief history of those strains is provided. The publication of these new genomes has motivated the creation of new tools, and SGD will annotate and provide comparative analyses of these sequences, correlating changes with variations in strain phenotypes and protein function. We are entering a new era at SGD, as we incorporate these new sequences and make them accessible to the scientific community, all in an effort to continue in our mission of educating researchers and facilitating discovery.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3595989  PMID: 23487186
19.  The YeastGenome app: the Saccharomyces Genome Database at your fingertips 
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) is a scientific database that provides researchers with high-quality curated data about the genes and gene products of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To provide instant and easy access to this information on mobile devices, we have developed YeastGenome, a native application for the Apple iPhone and iPad. YeastGenome can be used to quickly find basic information about S. cerevisiae genes and chromosomal features regardless of internet connectivity. With or without network access, you can view basic information and Gene Ontology annotations about a gene of interest by searching gene names and gene descriptions or by browsing the database within the app to find the gene of interest. With internet access, the app provides more detailed information about the gene, including mutant phenotypes, references and protein and genetic interactions, as well as provides hyperlinks to retrieve detailed information by showing SGD pages and views of the genome browser. SGD provides online help describing basic ways to navigate the mobile version of SGD, highlights key features and answers frequently asked questions related to the app. The app is available from iTunes ( The YeastGenome app is provided freely as a service to our community, as part of SGD’s mission to provide free and open access to all its data and annotations.
PMCID: PMC3567487  PMID: 23396302
20.  In the beginning there was babble… 
Autophagy  2012;8(8):1165-1167.
“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. …Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth…”
Genesis 11:7,9
PMCID: PMC3625114  PMID: 22836666
Arabidopsis; autophagy; Caenorhabditis; genes; human; lysosome; mammalian; mouse; nomenclature; rat; stress; vacuole; Xenopus; yeast; zebrafish
21.  Considerations for creating and annotating the budding yeast Genome Map at SGD: a progress report 
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) is compiling and annotating a comprehensive catalogue of functional sequence elements identified in the budding yeast genome. Recent advances in deep sequencing technologies have enabled for example, global analyses of transcription profiling and assembly of maps of transcription factor occupancy and higher order chromatin organization, at nucleotide level resolution. With this growing influx of published genome-scale data, come new challenges for their storage, display, analysis and integration. Here, we describe SGD's progress in the creation of a consolidated resource for genome sequence elements in the budding yeast, the considerations taken in its design and the lessons learned thus far. The data within this collection can be accessed at and downloaded from
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3308148  PMID: 22434826
22.  CvManGO, a method for leveraging computational predictions to improve literature-based Gene Ontology annotations 
The set of annotations at the Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) that classifies the cellular function of S. cerevisiae gene products using Gene Ontology (GO) terms has become an important resource for facilitating experimental analysis. In addition to capturing and summarizing experimental results, the structured nature of GO annotations allows for functional comparison across organisms as well as propagation of functional predictions between related gene products. Due to their relevance to many areas of research, ensuring the accuracy and quality of these annotations is a priority at SGD. GO annotations are assigned either manually, by biocurators extracting experimental evidence from the scientific literature, or through automated methods that leverage computational algorithms to predict functional information. Here, we discuss the relationship between literature-based and computationally predicted GO annotations in SGD and extend a strategy whereby comparison of these two types of annotation identifies genes whose annotations need review. Our method, CvManGO (Computational versus Manual GO annotations), pairs literature-based GO annotations with computational GO predictions and evaluates the relationship of the two terms within GO, looking for instances of discrepancy. We found that this method will identify genes that require annotation updates, taking an important step towards finding ways to prioritize literature review. Additionally, we explored factors that may influence the effectiveness of CvManGO in identifying relevant gene targets to find in particular those genes that are missing literature-supported annotations, but our survey found that there are no immediately identifiable criteria by which one could enrich for these under-annotated genes. Finally, we discuss possible ways to improve this strategy, and the applicability of this method to other projects that use the GO for curation.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3308158  PMID: 22434836
23.  Saccharomyces Genome Database: the genomics resource of budding yeast 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(Database issue):D700-D705.
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD, is the community resource for the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The SGD project provides the highest-quality manually curated information from peer-reviewed literature. The experimental results reported in the literature are extracted and integrated within a well-developed database. These data are combined with quality high-throughput results and provided through Locus Summary pages, a powerful query engine and rich genome browser. The acquisition, integration and retrieval of these data allow SGD to facilitate experimental design and analysis by providing an encyclopedia of the yeast genome, its chromosomal features, their functions and interactions. Public access to these data is provided to researchers and educators via web pages designed for optimal ease of use.
PMCID: PMC3245034  PMID: 22110037
24.  Toward an interactive article: integrating journals and biological databases 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:175.
Journal articles and databases are two major modes of communication in the biological sciences, and thus integrating these critical resources is of urgent importance to increase the pace of discovery. Projects focused on bridging the gap between journals and databases have been on the rise over the last five years and have resulted in the development of automated tools that can recognize entities within a document and link those entities to a relevant database. Unfortunately, automated tools cannot resolve ambiguities that arise from one term being used to signify entities that are quite distinct from one another. Instead, resolving these ambiguities requires some manual oversight. Finding the right balance between the speed and portability of automation and the accuracy and flexibility of manual effort is a crucial goal to making text markup a successful venture.
We have established a journal article mark-up pipeline that links GENETICS journal articles and the model organism database (MOD) WormBase. This pipeline uses a lexicon built with entities from the database as a first step. The entity markup pipeline results in links from over nine classes of objects including genes, proteins, alleles, phenotypes and anatomical terms. New entities and ambiguities are discovered and resolved by a database curator through a manual quality control (QC) step, along with help from authors via a web form that is provided to them by the journal. New entities discovered through this pipeline are immediately sent to an appropriate curator at the database. Ambiguous entities that do not automatically resolve to one link are resolved by hand ensuring an accurate link. This pipeline has been extended to other databases, namely Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) and FlyBase, and has been implemented in marking up a paper with links to multiple databases.
Our semi-automated pipeline hyperlinks articles published in GENETICS to model organism databases such as WormBase. Our pipeline results in interactive articles that are data rich with high accuracy. The use of a manual quality control step sets this pipeline apart from other hyperlinking tools and results in benefits to authors, journals, readers and databases.
PMCID: PMC3213741  PMID: 21595960
25.  Comparison of the Complete Protein Sets of Worm and Yeast: Orthology and Divergence 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  1998;282(5396):2022-2028.
Comparative analysis of predicted protein sequences encoded by the genomes of Caenorhabditis elegans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that most of the core biological functions are carried out by orthologous proteins (proteins of different species that can be traced back to a common ancestor) that occur in comparable numbers. The specialized processes of signal transduction and regulatory control that are unique to the multicellular worm appear to use novel proteins, many of which re-use conserved domains. Major expansion of the number of some of these domains seen in the worm may have contributed to the advent of multicellularity. The proteins conserved in yeast and worm are likely to have orthologs throughout eukaryotes; in contrast, the proteins unique to the worm may well define metazoans.
PMCID: PMC3057080  PMID: 9851918

Results 1-25 (53)