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PlaNet: powering plant genetics research in Europe

The Munich Information Centre for Protein Sequences and its PLANET project partners exploited bioinformatics techniques to share valuable plant genome information via the Internet.

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European scientists made a significant contribution to the recent genetic sequencing of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The PLANET project, funded in part by the LIFE QUALITY Programme, sought to make this as well as other plant genome data available to the wider research community. The plant specialists enlisted the aid of bioinformatics experts in order to develop a cutting-edge solution. The result of their collaboration is an integrated platform that enables access to over ten plant genome databases provided by the seven research centres involved in PLANET. Common tools and standards, such as BioMoby and Taverna, were employed to facilitate database queries, complex analysis and data display. Over 160 web services are incorporated into the platform. Links to external user-defined databases can also be established. The PLANET coordinator, the Munich Information Centre for Protein Sequences (MIPS), has provided tutorials and other relevant documentation online at: http://mips.gsf.de/projects/plants/PlaNetPortal/index_html. A complete list of the available databases as well as tools, including a search engine, are also provided. MIPS would like to draw attention to the fact that the PlaNet platform paradigm could be extended to other fields of research.

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