BBSRC has agreed to co-fund the development of an international resource for scientists studying the important plant species Arabidopsis in partnership with the USA's National Science Foundation.
Arabidopsis was the first plant to have its genome sequenced and is widely used as a model organism by plant biologists, playing a role similar to that of the fruit fly in animal genetics. The Arabidopsis Information Portal (AIP) will bring together ever-increasing amounts of Arabidopsis data into a single, user-friendly location using the latest web technologies and web services.
The portal will provide a platform for the Arabidopsis research community to analyse and share their research data, and the bilateral approach to funding between BBSRC and the NSF underlines the importance that both bodies attach to supporting this internationally important resource.
Researchers from Cambridge University will work with colleagues at the J Craig Venter Institute, the Texas Advanced Computing Centre and the Carnegie Institution for Science to develop the portal.
Dr Gos Micklem of Cambridge University's Department of Genetics, said: "We are delighted to be part of the AIP, and to contribute expertise in the InterMine data integration platform to it, which will facilitate the integration of multiple data types as well as forging links with the main animal model organism databases."
BBSRC is funding Dr. Micklem's team with £382,000.
In addition to providing the research community with access to broader and richer data sets, the AIP will foster the development of community-derived science applications and will also leverage the computational resources and tools of the iPlant project to facilitate data storage, analysis and interpretation.
The AIP team will also deliver training demonstrations to the plant sciences community and host workshops for potential developers of new tools and resources.
It is expected that AIP will not only modernise the bioinformatics capacity of the Arabidopsis research community, but will provide a leading example of international collaboration in building and funding biological informatics capabilities in the era of big data.