Nucleic Acids Research
PomBase (http://www.pombase.org) is the model organism database for the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. PomBase provides a central hub for the fission yeast community, supporting both exploratory and hypothesis-driven research. It provides users easy access to data ranging from the sequence level, to molecular and phenotypic annotations, through to the display of genome-wide high-throughput studies. Recent improvements to the site extend annotation specificity, improve usability and allow for monthly data updates. Both in-house curators and community researchers provide manually curated data to PomBase. The genome browser provides access to published high-throughput data sets and the genomes of three additional Schizosaccharomyces species (Schizosaccharomyces cryophilus, Schizosaccharomyces japonicus and Schizosaccharomyces octosporus).
Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org) is a genomic interpretation system providing the most up-to-date annotations, querying tools and access methods for chordates and key model organisms. This year we released updated annotation (gene models, comparative genomics, regulatory regions and variation) on the new human assembly, GRCh38, although we continue to support researchers using the GRCh37.p13 assembly through a dedicated site (http://grch37.ensembl.org). Our Regulatory Build has been revamped to identify regulatory regions of interest and to efficiently highlight their activity across disparate epigenetic data sets. A number of new interfaces allow users to perform large-scale comparisons of their data against our annotations. The REST server (http://rest.ensembl.org), which allows programs written in any language to query our databases, has moved to a full service alongside our upgraded website tools. Our online Variant Effect Predictor tool has been updated to process more variants and calculate summary statistics. Lastly, the WiggleTools package enables users to summarize large collections of data sets and view them as single tracks in Ensembl. The Ensembl code base itself is more accessible: it is now hosted on our GitHub organization page (https://github.com/Ensembl) under an Apache 2.0 open source license.
Launched in 2001 to showcase the draft human genome assembly, the UCSC Genome Browser database (http://genome.ucsc.edu) and associated tools continue to grow, providing a comprehensive resource of genome assemblies and annotations to scientists and students worldwide. Highlights of the past year include the release of a browser for the first new human genome reference assembly in 4 years in December 2013 (GRCh38, UCSC hg38), a watershed comparative genomics annotation (100-species multiple alignment and conservation) and a novel distribution mechanism for the browser (GBiB: Genome Browser in a Box). We created browsers for new species (Chinese hamster, elephant shark, minke whale), ‘mined the web’ for DNA sequences and expanded the browser display with stacked color graphs and region highlighting. As our user community increasingly adopts the UCSC track hub and assembly hub representations for sharing large-scale genomic annotation data sets and genome sequencing projects, our menu of public data hubs has tripled.
Genomicus update 2015: KaryoView and MatrixView provide a genome-wide perspective to multispecies comparative genomics
The Genomicus web server (http://www.genomicus.biologie.ens.fr/genomicus) is a visualization tool allowing comparative genomics in four different phyla (Vertebrate, Fungi, Metazoan and Plants). It provides access to genomic information from extant species, as well as ancestral gene content and gene order for vertebrates and flowering plants. Here we present the new features available for vertebrate genome with a focus on new graphical tools. The interface to enter the database has been improved, two pairwise genome comparison tools are now available (KaryoView and MatrixView) and the multiple genome comparison tools (PhyloView and AlignView) propose three new kinds of representation and a more intuitive menu. These new developments have been implemented for Genomicus portal dedicated to vertebrates. This allows the analysis of 68 extant animal genomes, as well as 58 ancestral reconstructed genomes. The Genomicus server also provides access to ancestral gene orders, to facilitate evolutionary and comparative genomics studies, as well as computationally predicted regulatory interactions, thanks to the representation of conserved non-coding elements with their putative gene targets.
FlyBase: introduction of the Drosophila melanogaster Release 6 reference genome assembly and large-scale migration of genome annotations
Release 6, the latest reference genome assembly of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, was released by the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project in 2014; it replaces their previous Release 5 genome assembly, which had been the reference genome assembly for over 7 years. With the enormous amount of information now attached to the D. melanogaster genome in public repositories and individual laboratories, the replacement of the previous assembly by the new one is a major event requiring careful migration of annotations and genome-anchored data to the new, improved assembly. In this report, we describe the attributes of the new Release 6 reference genome assembly, the migration of FlyBase genome annotations to this new assembly, how genome features on this new assembly can be viewed in FlyBase (http://flybase.org) and how users can convert coordinates for their own data to the corresponding Release 6 coordinates.
Helminth.net (http://www.helminth.net) is the new moniker for a collection of databases: Nematode.net and Trematode.net. Within this collection we provide services and resources for parasitic roundworms (nematodes) and flatworms (trematodes), collectively known as helminths. For over a decade we have provided resources for studying nematodes via our veteran site Nematode.net (http://nematode.net). In this article, (i) we provide an update on the expansions of Nematode.net that hosts omics data from 84 species and provides advanced search tools to the broad scientific community so that data can be mined in a useful and user-friendly manner and (ii) we introduce Trematode.net, a site dedicated to the dissemination of data from flukes, flatworm parasites of the class Trematoda, phylum Platyhelminthes. Trematode.net is an independent component of Helminth.net and currently hosts data from 16 species, with information ranging from genomic, functional genomic data, enzymatic pathway utilization to microbiome changes associated with helminth infections. The databases’ interface, with a sophisticated query engine as a backbone, is intended to allow users to search for multi-factorial combinations of species’ omics properties. This report describes updates to Nematode.net since its last description in NAR, 2012, and also introduces and presents its new sibling site, Trematode.net.
VectorBase: an updated bioinformatics resource for invertebrate vectors and other organisms related with human diseases
VectorBase is a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supported Bioinformatics Resource Center (BRC) for invertebrate vectors of human pathogens. Now in its 11th year, VectorBase currently hosts the genomes of 35 organisms including a number of non-vectors for comparative analysis. Hosted data range from genome assemblies with annotated gene features, transcript and protein expression data to population genetics including variation and insecticide-resistance phenotypes. Here we describe improvements to our resource and the set of tools available for interrogating and accessing BRC data including the integration of Web Apollo to facilitate community annotation and providing Galaxy to support user-based workflows. VectorBase also actively supports our community through hands-on workshops and online tutorials. All information and data are freely available from our website at https://www.vectorbase.org/.
The i5k Workspace@NAL--enabling genomic data access, visualization and curation of arthropod genomes
The 5000 arthropod genomes initiative (i5k) has tasked itself with coordinating the sequencing of 5000 insect or related arthropod genomes. The resulting influx of data, mostly from small research groups or communities with little bioinformatics experience, will require visualization, dissemination and curation, preferably from a centralized platform. The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has implemented the i5k Workspace@NAL (http://i5k.nal.usda.gov/) to help meet the i5k initiative's genome hosting needs. Any i5k member is encouraged to contact the i5k Workspace with their genome project details. Once submitted, new content will be accessible via organism pages, genome browsers and BLAST search engines, which are implemented via the open-source Tripal framework, a web interface for the underlying Chado database schema. We also implement the Web Apollo software for groups that choose to curate gene models. New content will add to the existing body of 35 arthropod species, which include species relevant for many aspects of arthropod genomic research, including agriculture, invasion biology, systematics, ecology and evolution, and developmental research.
The iBeetle-Base (http://ibeetle-base.uni-goettingen.de) makes available annotations of RNAi phenotypes, which were gathered in a large scale RNAi screen in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum (iBeetle screen). In addition, it provides access to sequence information and links for all Tribolium castaneum genes. The iBeetle-Base contains the annotations of phenotypes of several thousands of genes knocked down during embryonic and metamorphic epidermis and muscle development in addition to phenotypes linked to oogenesis and stink gland biology. The phenotypes are described according to the EQM (entity, quality, modifier) system using controlled vocabularies and the Tribolium morphological ontology (TrOn). Furthermore, images linked to the respective annotations are provided. The data are searchable either for specific phenotypes using a complex ‘search for morphological defects’ or a ‘quick search’ for gene names and IDs. The red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum has become an important model system for insect functional genetics and is a representative of the most species rich taxon, the Coleoptera, which comprise several devastating pests. It is used for studying insect typical development, the evolution of development and for research on metabolism and pest control. Besides Drosophila, Tribolium is the first insect model organism where large scale unbiased screens have been performed.
The Mouse Genome Database (MGD): facilitating mouse as a model for human biology and disease
The Mouse Genome Database (MGD, http://www.informatics.jax.org) serves the international biomedical research community as the central resource for integrated genomic, genetic and biological data on the laboratory mouse. To facilitate use of mouse as a model in translational studies, MGD maintains a core of high-quality curated data and integrates experimentally and computationally generated data sets. MGD maintains a unified catalog of genes and genome features, including functional RNAs, QTL and phenotypic loci. MGD curates and provides functional and phenotype annotations for mouse genes using the Gene Ontology and Mammalian Phenotype Ontology. MGD integrates phenotype data and associates mouse genotypes to human diseases, providing critical mouse–human relationships and access to repositories holding mouse models. MGD is the authoritative source of nomenclature for genes, genome features, alleles and strains following guidelines of the International Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Mice. A new addition to MGD, the Human–Mouse: Disease Connection, allows users to explore gene–phenotype–disease relationships between human and mouse. MGD has also updated search paradigms for phenotypic allele attributes, incorporated incidental mutation data, added a module for display and exploration of genes and microRNA interactions and adopted the JBrowse genome browser. MGD resources are freely available to the scientific community.
Tissue-specific transcriptome sequencing analysis expands the non-human primate reference transcriptome resource (NHPRTR)
The non-human primate reference transcriptome resource (NHPRTR, available online at http://nhprtr.org/) aims to generate comprehensive RNA-seq data from a wide variety of non-human primates (NHPs), from lemurs to hominids. In the 2012 Phase I of the NHPRTR project, 19 billion fragments or 3.8 terabases of transcriptome sequences were collected from pools of ~20 tissues in 15 species and subspecies. Here we describe a major expansion of NHPRTR by adding 10.1 billion fragments of tissue-specific RNA-seq data. For this effort, we selected 11 of the original 15 NHP species and subspecies and constructed total RNA libraries for the same ~15 tissues in each. The sequence quality is such that 88% of the reads align to human reference sequences, allowing us to compute the full list of expression abundance across all tissues for each species, using the reads mapped to human genes. This update also includes improved transcript annotations derived from RNA-seq data for rhesus and cynomolgus macaques, two of the most commonly used NHP models and additional RNA-seq data compiled from related projects. Together, these comprehensive reference transcriptomes from multiple primates serve as a valuable community resource for genome annotation, gene dynamics and comparative functional analysis.
The Rat Genome Database 2015: genomic, phenotypic and environmental variations and disease
The Rat Genome Database (RGD, http://rgd.mcw.edu) provides the most comprehensive data repository and informatics platform related to the laboratory rat, one of the most important model organisms for disease studies. RGD maintains and updates datasets for genomic elements such as genes, transcripts and increasingly in recent years, sequence variations, as well as map positions for multiple assemblies and sequence information. Functional annotations for genomic elements are curated from published literature, submitted by researchers and integrated from other public resources. Complementing the genomic data catalogs are those associated with phenotypes and disease, including strains, QTL and experimental phenotype measurements across hundreds of strains. Data are submitted by researchers, acquired through bulk data pipelines or curated from published literature. Innovative software tools provide users with an integrated platform to query, mine, display and analyze valuable genomic and phenomic datasets for discovery and enhancement of their own research. This update highlights recent developments that reflect an increasing focus on: (i) genomic variation, (ii) phenotypes and diseases, (iii) data related to the environment and experimental conditions and (iv) datasets and software tools that allow the user to explore and analyze the interactions among these and their impact on disease.
SuperFly: a comparative database for quantified spatio-temporal gene expression patterns in early dipteran embryos
We present SuperFly (http://superfly.crg.eu), a relational database for quantified spatio-temporal expression data of segmentation genes during early development in different species of dipteran insects (flies, midges and mosquitoes). SuperFly has a special focus on emerging non-drosophilid model systems. The database currently includes data of high spatio-temporal resolution for three species: the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster, the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita and the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. At this point, SuperFly covers up to 9 genes and 16 time points per species, with a total of 1823 individual embryos. It provides an intuitive web interface, enabling the user to query and access original embryo images, quantified expression profiles, extracted positions of expression boundaries and integrated datasets, plus metadata and intermediate processing steps. SuperFly is a valuable new resource for the quantitative comparative study of gene expression patterns across dipteran species. Moreover, it provides an interesting test set for systems biologists interested in fitting mathematical gene network models to data. Both of these aspects are essential ingredients for progress toward a more quantitative and mechanistic understanding of developmental evolution.
Xenbase, the Xenopus model organism database; new virtualized system, data types and genomes
Xenbase (http://www.xenbase.org), the Xenopus frog model organism database, integrates a wide variety of data from this biomedical model genus. Two closely related species are represented: the allotetraploid Xenopus laevis that is widely used for microinjection and tissue explant-based protocols, and the diploid Xenopus tropicalis which is used for genetics and gene targeting. The two species are extremely similar and protocols, reagents and results from each species are often interchangeable. Xenbase imports, indexes, curates and manages data from both species; all of which are mapped via unique IDs and can be queried in either a species-specific or species agnostic manner. All our services have now migrated to a private cloud to achieve better performance and reliability. We have added new content, including providing full support for morpholino reagents, used to inhibit mRNA translation or splicing and binding to regulatory microRNAs. New genomes assembled by the JGI for both species and are displayed in Gbrowse and are also available for searches using BLAST. Researchers can easily navigate from genome content to gene page reports, literature, experimental reagents and many other features using hyperlinks. Xenbase has also greatly expanded image content for figures published in papers describing Xenopus research via PubMedCentral.
neXtProt (http://www.nextprot.org) is a human protein-centric knowledgebase developed at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. Focused solely on human proteins, neXtProt aims to provide a state of the art resource for the representation of human biology by capturing a wide range of data, precise annotations, fully traceable data provenance and a web interface which enables researchers to find and view information in a comprehensive manner. Since the introductory neXtProt publication, significant advances have been made on three main aspects: the representation of proteomics data, an extended representation of human variants and the development of an advanced search capability built around semantic technologies. These changes are presented in the current neXtProt update.
DBTMEE (http://dbtmee.hgc.jp/) is a searchable and browsable database designed to manipulate gene expression information from our ultralarge-scale whole-transcriptome analysis of mouse early embryos. Since integrative approaches with multiple public analytical data have become indispensable for studying embryogenesis due to technical challenges such as biological sample collection, we intend DBTMEE to be an integrated gateway for the research community. To do so, we combined the gene expression profile with various public resources. Thereby, users can extensively investigate molecular characteristics among totipotent, pluripotent and differentiated cells while taking genetic and epigenetic characteristics into consideration. We have also designed user friendly web interfaces that enable users to access the data quickly and easily. DBTMEE will help to promote our understanding of the enigmatic fertilization dynamics.
DoGSD: the dog and wolf genome SNP database
The rapid advancement of next-generation sequencing technology has generated a deluge of genomic data from domesticated dogs and their wild ancestor, grey wolves, which have simultaneously broadened our understanding of domestication and diseases that are shared by humans and dogs. To address the scarcity of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data provided by authorized databases and to make SNP data more easily/friendly usable and available, we propose DoGSD (http://dogsd.big.ac.cn), the first canidae-specific database which focuses on whole genome SNP data from domesticated dogs and grey wolves. The DoGSD is a web-based, open-access resource comprising ~19 million high-quality whole-genome SNPs. In addition to the dbSNP data set (build 139), DoGSD incorporates a comprehensive collection of SNPs from two newly sequenced samples (1 wolf and 1 dog) and collected SNPs from three latest dog/wolf genetic studies (7 wolves and 68 dogs), which were taken together for analysis with the population genetic statistics, Fst. In addition, DoGSD integrates some closely related information including SNP annotation, summary lists of SNPs located in genes, synonymous and non-synonymous SNPs, sampling location and breed information. All these features make DoGSD a useful resource for in-depth analysis in dog-/wolf-related studies.
Allele frequency net 2015 update: new features for HLA epitopes, KIR and disease and HLA adverse drug reaction associations
It has been 12 years since the Allele Frequency Net Database (AFND; http://www.allelefrequencies.net) was first launched, providing the scientific community with an online repository for the storage of immune gene frequencies in different populations across the world. There have been a significant number of improvements from the first version, making AFND a primary resource for many clinical and scientific areas including histocompatibility, immunogenetics, pharmacogenetics and anthropology studies, among many others. The most widely used part of AFND stores population frequency data (alleles, genes or haplotypes) related to human leukocyte antigens (HLA), killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related genes (MIC) and a number of cytokine gene polymorphisms. AFND now contains >1400 populations from more than 10 million healthy individuals. Here, we report how the main features of AFND have been updated to include a new section on ‘HLA epitope’ frequencies in populations, a new section capturing the results of studies identifying HLA associations with adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and one for the examination of infectious and autoimmune diseases associated with KIR polymorphisms—thus extending AFND to serve a new user base in these growing areas of research. New criteria on data quality have also been included.
OMIM.org: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM(R)), an online catalog of human genes and genetic disorders
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, OMIM®, is a comprehensive, authoritative and timely research resource of curated descriptions of human genes and phenotypes and the relationships between them. The new official website for OMIM, OMIM.org (http://omim.org), was launched in January 2011. OMIM is based on the published peer-reviewed biomedical literature and is used by overlapping and diverse communities of clinicians, molecular biologists and genome scientists, as well as by students and teachers of these disciplines. Genes and phenotypes are described in separate entries and are given unique, stable six-digit identifiers (MIM numbers). OMIM entries have a structured free-text format that provides the flexibility necessary to describe the complex and nuanced relationships between genes and genetic phenotypes in an efficient manner. OMIM also has a derivative table of genes and genetic phenotypes, the Morbid Map. OMIM.org has enhanced search capabilities such as genome coordinate searching and thesaurus-enhanced search term options. Phenotypic series have been created to facilitate viewing genetic heterogeneity of phenotypes. Clinical synopsis features are enhanced with UMLS, Human Phenotype Ontology and Elements of Morphology terms and image links. All OMIM data are available for FTP download and through an API. MIMmatch is a novel outreach feature to disseminate updates and encourage collaboration.
GRASP v2.0: an update on the Genome-Wide Repository of Associations between SNPs and phenotypes
Here, we present an update on the Genome-Wide Repository of Associations between SNPs and Phenotypes (GRASP) database version 2.0 (http://apps.nhlbi.nih.gov/Grasp/Overview.aspx). GRASP is a centralized repository of publically available genome-wide association study (GWAS) results. GRASP v2.0 contains ~8.87 million SNP associations reported in 2082 studies, an increase of ~2.59 million SNP associations (41.4% increase) and 693 studies (48.9% increase) from our previous version. Our goal in developing and maintaining GRASP is to provide a user-friendly means for diverse sets of researchers to query reported SNP associations (P ≤ 0.05) with human traits, including methylation and expression quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies. Therefore, in addition to making the full database available for download, we developed a user-friendly web interface that allows for direct querying of GRASP. We provide details on the use of this web interface and what information may be gleaned from using this interactive option. Additionally, we describe potential uses of GRASP and how the scientific community may benefit from the convenient availability of all SNP association results from GWAS (P ≤ 0.05). We plan to continue updating GRASP with newly published GWAS and increased annotation depth.