Scientists to assemble Kbase to aid U.S. biofuel, environment efforts
via R&D Daily
Monday, July 18, 2011
Combining information about plants, microbes, and the complex biomolecular interactions that take place inside these organisms into a single, integrated "knowledgebase" will greatly enhance scientists' ability to access and share data, and use it to improve the production of biofuels and other useful products.
In the decade that has passed since the completion of the first draft sequence of the human genome, biologists have grown increasingly aware of a problem ironically generated by the success of their work. Biological experiments in the age of genomics—including DNA sequencing, gene expression profiles, studies of cell-signaling pathways, protein binding, and other information-rich inquiries—generate quantities of raw data so immense that they threaten to overwhelm researchers' ability to make sense of them.
Two Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) investigators are among the leaders of a multi-institutional effort announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to address the problem in one particular area of research involving plant and microbial life. The team has been awarded funding to create out of many separate streams of biological information a single, integrated cyber-"knowledgebase" (called Kbase) focused specifically on these two fundamentally important forms of life.