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New databases harvest a rich bounty of information on crop plant metabolism
Date:3/29/2012

Stanford, CA -- The Plant Metabolic Network (http://www.plantcyc.org/), which is based at Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology, has launched four new online databases that offer an unprecedented view of the biochemical pathways controlling the metabolism of corn, soybeans, wine grapes, and cassavafour important species of crop plant. The new databases will serve as a critical resource for scientists working with these species to increase crop production, enhance biofuel development, or explore novel medicines.

Meeting the ever-expanding demand for food, biofuel and phyto-pharmaceutical production will require a comprehensive understanding of the enzymes, biochemical pathways and regulatory networks that control metabolism in plants. The goal of the Plant Metabolic Network is to facilitate such understanding by providing a detailed, genome-scale view of the chemical reactions taking place in plant cells. These metabolic reactions include those that convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into chemical energy, import essential mineral nutrients from the soil into plant roots, aid plants in defending against environmental stress, and otherwise allow plants to maintain life. By providing rich information on these processes, the Plant Metabolic Network enables efforts to elucidate steps in poorly understood plant biochemical processes, as well as discover unique, previously uncharacterized enzymes important to plant life.

The Plant Metabolic Network research team consists of plant scientists, scientific curators, post-doctoral scholars, and student interns. It is led by Carnegie staff scientist Sue Rhee. The group employs a number of approaches to generate the information housed in each database, integrating techniques and concepts from a wide range of fields including molecular sequence analysis, artificial intelligence, statistics, plant molecular biology, and plant biochemistry.

The team created a
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Contact: Sue Rhee
rhee@acoma.stanford.edu
650-739-4251
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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