New data that will allow researchers to isolate essentially any gene in Arabidopsis, a mustard plant that serves as a model organism for scientists worldwide--and will greatly facilitate the goal of understanding the function of every gene in Arabidopsis within the next 10 years--have just been released by The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR). The data set represents a qualitative leap in genetics for Arabidopsis. The data release also represents a new paradigm in public-private information sharing for the genomic study of model organisms. TAIR is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
TAIR, a collaboration between the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) and the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW), now offers a comprehensive list of more than 39,000 polymorphisms via a Web site, http://www.arabidopsis.org/cereon These data were discovered by Cereon Genomics, LLC, which has taken a
groundbreaking step in making privately owned data available to the public sector. If followed by others, this will revolutionize the sharing of biological data in the post-genomic era.
"The partnership between TAIR and Cereon could well set the standard for future models of academic access to important industrial datasets," said Paul Gilna, program director in NSF's biological database and informatics program.
Polymorphisms between subspecies of an organism are typically used to map genes on a chromosome and eventually isolate the gene to study its function.
"This is an incredible resource," said Chris Somerville, director of plant biology at Carnegie. "No other organism has such a rich collection of polymorphisms accessible to the academic and nonprofit sector. These data will greatly facilitate the isolation of genes by map-based cloning, among other goals."