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Controlling a sea of information
Date:3/17/2008

Stanford, CACurators at one of the worlds most widely used biological databases, The Arabidopsis Information Resource, or TAIR, have joined forces with the journal Plant Physiology, to solve the flood of information dilemma. It is a first-of-its-kind partnership, which cuts out the middle person for entering important genetics and other biological data about plants into the database. The new system will unclog the information highway and significantly increase the data contained in TAIR.

TAIR* , located at the Carnegie Institutions Department of Plant Biology, is used by researchers from over 120 countries who study the model plant Arabidopsis. The plant is a quick-growing relative of mustard that is used to understand the fundamental processes of plants and thereby provide insights that could enhance the worlds food supply, develop disease and drought resistant crops, and much more. The database has grown from 100,000 page hits per month in 2000 to over 1 million in 2007.

Wolf Frommer, the acting director of Plant Biology and VP of the Feedstocks Division of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, CA, ** emphasizes the immense importance of this partnership for the development of the emerging biofuels industry. Arabidopsis is the most advanced reference plant and TAIRs efforts will certainly have a major impact for the identification of novel feedstock crops that will enable us to use plant cell walls (cellulose) as an energy source, he said.

We simply do not have the people-power to cope with entering all the research data coming from the plant biology community, remarked TAIR director Eva Huala. Weve had to triage which information goes in.

Given the information overload, TAIR principal investigator Sue Rhee and director Eva Huala approached the journal in May of 2007 about the partnership. Now authors publishing in Plant Physiology, a journal of the American Society of Plant Biologists, will enter their
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Contact: Eva Huala
huala@acoma.stanford.edu
650-325-1521
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert  

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