Most of the time when we talk about variant annotation, we talk about the effects of variants on genes, but did you know that the VEP can also tell you how variants affect the genomic features that regulate gene expression, such as promoter and enhancers?
Author: Emily (Outreach)
If a variant hits a splice site, you want to know if splicing is going to occur as normal, or if you can expect a different protein isoform. We have a few cool tools with the VEP that will help you to assess that for your own variants.
We’ve heard from a number of you about missing paralogues in release 94. We have lost some paralogy relationships and we’re looking to restore them in future. We’re sorry for any problems this caused.
If you work with Zymoseptoria tritici genes, we’re looking for your help. We need people to get involved with community annotation of genes.
In its latest release, Ensembl has completely reviewed its reporting of potential Transcription Factor (TF) binding sites. TF proteins are key players of gene expression regulation that bind to specific DNA regions characterised by approximate sequence patterns, or transcription factor binding motifs (TFBM). These motifs are generally represented as a Position Specific Frequency Matrix, or Binding Matrix. Ensembl scans genomes for occurrences of these motifs, reporting Motif Features at each possible location.
We’ve just released Ensembl Genomes 94, which includes genomes for Emmer wheat and over 200 new fungi, updated gene trees and host-pathogen interactions from PHI-base.
The latest version of Ensembl, release 94, is out and have we got some treats for you. As well as GENCODE updates for human and mouse, we’ve also got loads of new fish. Plus, we have brand new transcription factor binding motifs, additional predictors of variant pathogenicity and updated gene tree pipelines.
A common use case for the VEP is as a first step towards identifying the causal genetic variant of a rare phenotype from whole genome/exome sequencing. The VEP tells you which genes are hit, what effects they have on them, and you have to begin the long laborious process of filtering those down. Things you might consider include allele frequency, association with genes known to be involved in rare disease and whether both genes in a diploid organism are affected. Rather than faffing about doing this manually, you can use the G2P (genotype to phenotype) plugin instead, which was recently published as a preprint.
Rating variants for their potential deleteriousness is vital for solving the link between genotypes and phenotypes. There are many different algorithms for predicting how likely it is that a human variant would affect the function of a protein, and in release 94 of Ensembl, we’ll be making more of these available.
We’re excited to be trying a new conference this year: the African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) conference in collaboration with H3Africa, in Kigali Rwanda, 19th-21st September. The conference is a fantastic opportunity for African scientists to showcase their work, build collaborations and learn more about their field of research. For us, it’s great to see what research is going on outside of our usual sphere, as well as to promote our free database and training to researchers who could benefit from it.