Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/27/2005
Publication Date: 5/2/2005
Citation: Lawrence, C., Seigfried, T.E., Brendel, V. 2005. The maize genetics and genomics database. The community resource for access to diverse maize data. Plant Physiology. 138(1):55-58. Interpretive Summary: Maize (referred to commonly as corn or by its botanical name Zea mays L. spp. mays) is an important crop. Not only is it a source of food for both people and livestock the world over, it also is an important component of many items where its content is less apparent. Maize is used in the manufacture of diverse commodities including glue, paint, insecticides, toothpaste, rubber tires, rayon, molded plastics, and the list goes on. Maize also is the nation’s major source of ethanol, a fuel that is more environmentally friendly than gasoline and that may turn out to be a more economical fuel alternative in the long run. Access to data describing the biology of maize is of interest to researchers the world over. The depth and breadth of biological data related to maize is ever increasing, and researchers need to be able to search across data and to find information. This functionality coupled with worldwide accessibility could only be realized by storing the data in a relational database and making that information available through an online Web interface. By creating logical connections between, for example, how a plant looks and the genetic sequences responsible for causing that phenotype, researchers can use data created in the past as a springboard for future experiments. This manuscript describes technical, curatorial, and usage aspects of the Maize Genetics and Genomics Database (MaizeGDB) project and demonstrates how the database can be used to solve problems by way of a few example usage cases. This information described in this manuscript will aid scientists and stakeholders interested in maize genetics and genomics (including those involved in breeding and crop improvement, as well as the public at large) to find information describing traits, phenotypes, genotypes, and other related data for maize.
Technical Abstract: The Maize Genetics and Genomics Database (MaizeGDB) serves the maize (Zea mays) research community by making a wealth of genetics and genomics data available through an intuitive Web-based interface. The goals of the MaizeGDB project are three-fold: to provide a central repository for public maize information; to present the data through the MaizeGDB Web site in a way that recapitulates biological relationships; and to provide an array of computational tools that address biological questions in an easy-to-use manner at the site. In addition to these primary tasks, MaizeGDB team members also serve the community of maize geneticists by lending technical support for community activities, including the annual Maize Genetics Conference and various workshops, teaching researchers to use both the MaizeGDB Web site and Community Curation Tools, and engaging in collaboration with individual research groups to make their unique data types available through MaizeGDB.