New Ensembl Genomes release expands the metazoa

I’m going to be blogging a bit more about the recent Ensembl 61 release and the Ensembl Genomes 8 release – lots and lots of goodies in both these releases – web site tweaks (some of the them totally critical for generating good displays), the new “favourite tracks” feature, and impressive content changes.

I’ll start today on content changes, and in Ensembl Genomes 8 there are some important genome additions. Some come from Paul Kersey’s new collaboration with PhytoPathDB – more on that in a later post – but top of my excitement has been the diversity in metazoa. The Ensembl Metazoa team has added Sea Urchin, Sea Anemone, the rather weird primitive animal, Trichoplax adhaerens (also called the “carpet” organism) and the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni. The motivation of bringing these organisms in is to broaden our phylogenetic tree and comparisons we can provide across all of life. So for example for the drosophila Twist Gene one can now see the deep tree for this across metazoa. For example, there is a deep ortholog to Trichoplax which seems to predate the split of some of these Helix Loop Helix proteins, whereas there are other members of the family which have a paralog in Trichoplax meaning that there seems a fundamental split in this developmentally key transcription factor. This is just one of many interesting gene trees that one can look at using this resource…

Happy browsing/data mining!