Phytozome

A newly enhanced database and resource is available to researchers called Phytozome. Phytozome is targeted as a hub of genomic data for plants of interest in biofuel research and a joint project of the DOE JGI and UC Berkeley’s Center for Integrative Genomics. As a recent press release states,

The gene families available in Phytozome, defined at several evolutionarily significant epochs, provide a framework for the transfer of functional information to important biofuel and agricultural crops from model plant systems, as well as allowing users to explore land plant evolution.

This release is v. 4 and includes the genomes of 14 plants from green algae, arabidopsis and corn. The resource uses GBrowse (free tutorial and training materials) as it’s genome browser, BioMart for advanced searching and has BLAST capability. I find Gramene a bit more extensive than Phytozome, but the focus of the two (biofuel plants and agricultural grains for Phytozome and Gramene respectively) are different and Phytozome is becoming quite extensive.

I remember going to a DOE/JGI users conference last year and being quite impressed with the research going on in biofuel, and also more sobered by the obstacles both techological and practical (use of food-producing land, etc) that we face. With rising gas prices and temperatures, can’t ask for too much information!