DOE Joint Genome Institute releases latest version of microbial database

Sep. 1, 2005

DOE Joint Genome Institute releases latest version of microbial database

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- An enhanced version of the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) data management system of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has been made available to the public.

The new version, IMG 1.2, contains 270 additional public genomes and nine new JGI genomes (four finished, five drafts), bringing the total number of genomes in IMG to 618 (318 bacterial, 25 archaeal, 15 eukaryotic, 260 bacterial phage). Forty of the finished genomes and 80 of the draft genomes in the database were sequenced by DOE JGI.

IMG 1.2 enables users to add annotations to IMG as well as to save the results of their analysis of organisms and genes. IMG 1.2 also features enhanced comparative analysis capabilities, including VISTA exploration of sequence conservation for selected organisms and KEGG pathway and COG category profiles across all organisms.

Since its initial release in March 2005, IMG has gained increasing recognition in the scientific community. "IMG is invaluable for comparative genomic analyses," said Mark A. Schell, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia. "My laboratory uses it all the time and I will use it in the classes I teach this fall."

Responding to the growing interest in the community, IMG is developing tools to facilitate use of the system. Through the sponsorship of the DOE Office of Science Laboratory Science Teacher's Professional Development program (LSTPD), Karen Kelly, a biology teacher from local Clayton Valley High School, spent the summer at the JGI Production Genomics Facility designing an IMG training workshop for teachers and students.

"They will experience up-close and personal lessons from the researchers on how JGI tackles microbial genomes and how scientific value is added from comparative analyses," Kelly said. "From this population, JGI hopes to harness a new generation of intern bioinformaticists that will help advance IMG's annotation goals."

IMG, accessible to the public at the Integrated Microbial Genomes Website , is the result of a collaboration between the DOE JGI and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Biological Data Management and Technology Center (BDMTC).

IMG continues to be updated on a quarterly basis with new public and JGI genomes. The next update is scheduled for December 1, 2005.

The DOE Joint Genome Institute, supported primarily by the DOE Office of Science, is among the world leaders in whole-genome sequencing projects devoted to microbes and microbial communities, model system vertebrates, aquatic organisms, and plants. Established in 1997, DOE JGI now unites the expertise of four national laboratories, Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge, along with the Stanford Human Genome Center, to advance the frontiers of genome sequencing and related biology.