From Plant Biology 2013

Categories: conferences, resource
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: August 1, 2013

Last week I was at ASPB’s annual conference, Plant Biology 2013. It was a great week and I learned a lot of new science and discovered a lot of new resources to share with UK plant scientists – some brand new, and some golden oldies that get better with time.

First of all through, some shameless self-promotion – I wrote a report for New Phytologist on the UK’s own Plant Science conference, PlantSci 2013, with Ruth and Mimi. It’s now published (open access) here.

For the last three years, ASPB have been working on a decadal vision for plant science in the US. The final report was released in July, and will be rolled out to Congress in the autumn with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of plant science and getting extra funding. You can download the report, entitled Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science, here. The Plant Science Research Summit website also explains how the report was written and includes the preliminary report from 2011.

Kate Dreher gave an excellent talk in the Genomic Tools minisymposium on the ever expanding output from the Plant Metabolomic Network, the free online tool which enables users to find and predict genes or proteins, other metabolites, reactions, and pathways. In June this year seven new databases were released, including BarleyCyc and OryzaCyc. In July, many existing databases were updated – AraCyc 11.5 now contains data on 597 pathways, 9041 enzymes, 3490 interactions, and 2613 compounds. For tutorials, see this page.

Sol Genomics Network, online home to the tomato genome consortium and the tomato genome sequence that was finished last year, have a new set of pages for breeders – the SGN Breeders Toolbox. It includes a database of markers and QTLs, and a phenotype search tool. SGN have also provided Cassava researchers with a new set of databases and tools, found at

KBASE is a new free software and online space from the US Department of Energy. It aims to provide an environment for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, including gene and protein databases for both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. For plant scientists, there is a tool for discovering and mapping genetic variations within plant populations. User Home has tutorials, guides, and an introduction.

Medicago researchers will be interested in the Medicago resources from the J. Craig Ventor Institute. Medicago genome v4 was released in July, and users can help annotate your favourite gene family or add your paper to the annotation.

Of course, iPlant also had a presence at the Genomic Tools session – Jason Williams gave a great overview of the iPlant Collaborative, which now has over 9000 users worldwide and performs over 10 000 high performance computing jobs a year. However, I have been going on about iPlant so much recently due to our training workshop (register now!), and iPlant have such a good social media presence and website, there’s not much I can say here that isn’t said better somewhere else.

My poster, shown in the top left hand corner, was printed on silk canvas by Scienceposters. I cannot recommend this service highly enough – it is more expensive than printing on paper, but comes in an A4 size box that packs into your luggage easily, and arrives the working day after you order it.

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  1. […] RT @weedinggems: Highlights from the Genomic Tools session from #plantbiology2013 […]

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