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Researchers develop free online database for soybean studies
Date:6/10/2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. In the era of "big data," many scientific discoveries are being made without researchers ever stepping foot in traditional laboratories. Often, data from numerous experiments is gathered and disregarded, with only the desired results analyzed. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed the digital infrastructure needed to store previously disregarded data to take plant science to the next level. The Soybean Knowledge Base (SoyKB), a free online data resource, allows collaboration among international researchers, scientists and farmers to solve questions encountered in soybean research.

"Researchers essentially deposit their results from experiments into the database, and high capacity computer systems crunch the numbers to help determine results," said Trupti Joshi, assistant research professor in computer science at the College of Engineering at MU. "Their experiments become a part of the bigger picture allowing future researchers to narrow their own results."

Highly collaborative in nature, SoyKB uses computational methods developed by computer science engineers that can be used for many disciplines, such as health sciences, animal sciences, physics and genetics. Additionally, a 3D-protein modeling tool available at the website assists with researchers studying drug design. Pharmaceutical companies may test hypotheses and, in some situations, the proposed drug may yield the expected resultsformulated solely by data analysis making drug design more cost effective.

"Humans only can look at so many lines in an excel spreadsheetthen it just kind of blurs," said Gary Stacey, collaborator on the project, an investigator in the MU Bond Life Sciences Center and professor of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "We need these kinds of tools to be able to deal with this high-volume data. With this database, all the data is deposited and available so something that's not
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Contact: Jeff Sossamon
sossamonj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

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