Mitochondrial DNA is an essential component of all eukaryotic genomes. Beside its importance in basic science, it has become the most commonly used tool in molecular evolution and taxonomy studies as well as in several biotechnological applications which rely on molecular sequencing techniques. Recently, in medicine, the role of mitochondrial DNA in mitochondrial pathologies and its possible involvement in ageing have been recognized.
It is therefore crucial to have as comprehensive a knowledge of mt DNA sequences as possible and to have mt DNA sequences available to the scientific community in an easy-to-use way and in compliance with proper standards. Some efforts have been in Bari and in Gif to implement specialised databases. These recognized efforts and those leading to the many databases constituted by scientists for personal purposes need to be combined in a co-ordinated and standardised way.
The goal of the present project is that of setting up a comprehensive and integrated specialised database (mitBASE), ensuring a productive cross interaction among data from various organisms.
The strategy is to establish expert nodes for the various taxonomic groups: vertebrates, human data, invertebrates, plants and algae, protists, fungi and a pilot node for nuclear genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and its regulation. Each node will have the responsibility of data capturing, data validation, data annotation and data storage as well as that of contributing value-added information. All data will be then stored in a database structure having two levels of retrieval system, general and specialised. The specialised retrieval system being tailored on the requirements of non- scientific and non-biologist end-users.
The database will be then made available on the network.
The novelty of this project is in the great emphasis put on data annotation and validation and in the value-added information produced through comparative analyses carried out by outstanding experts.
The project can bring several benefits to European science and its scientific community. In particular the interdisciplinary nature of the project will spur the contact of two expertise's, the informatic and the biological, to the advantage of European bioinformatics. On account then of the possible applications it will foster, mitBASE will have an important impact in health, agriculture and the environment.
Furthermore, Europe has always played a leading role in the study of mitochondrial biogenesis and the pre-competitive nature and novelty of the project, which involves experts from 5 different EU countries, would certainly help Europe to maintain a high standard of excellence in this field.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
91198 Gif Sur Yvette
CB10 1SD Saffron Walden
WC1N 3BG London
1105 AZ Amsterdam