Pfam targets conserved human regions

May 7, 2013

Recently, we have been looking at how much of the human proteome is covered by Pfam (release 27.0), and ways in which we can improve this coverage. We have even written an open access paper about it that you can read here [1]  that is part of the proceedings of the 2013 Biocuration conference. We used the human proteins in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot [2] (~20,000 sequences) as our human proteome set, and found that while most of the sequences in this set have some Pfam annotation (90% have at least one Pfam domain), there is still much ground to cover before we have a complete map of all (conserved) human regions (HRs). Here, rather than repeating what we presented in the paper (did we mention it is open access? :-)), we would like to tell you more about the impact this study is having on our strategies for selecting target regions to be added to Pfam.

Read the rest of this entry »


TreeFam 9 is now available!

May 3, 2013

We are happy to announce that TreeFam 9 is online and you can find it under http://www.treefam.org.

TreeFam 9 now has 109 species (vs. 79 in TreeFam 8) and is based on data from Ensembl v69, Ensembl Genomes v16, Wormbase and JGI.

This release marks an important step for TreeFam as it is the first release build since TreeFam has been resurrected.
Here is a list of the most important changes in TreeFam 9:

  • New website layout (adopting the Pfam/Rfam/Dfam layout)
  • Infrastructure move of web servers and databases to the EBI
  • Sequence search against the library of TreeFam family profiles
  • new tree visualisations in pure javascript using D3, e.g. see the BRCA2 gene tree here.
  • Pairwise homology download

We hope you find all the information you are looking for. If you don’t, please let us know so that we can include the information you want. The old website will remain online here.

If you have questions, suggestions or find bugs, don’t hesitate to contact us through our new forum here.

Happy treefamming,

the TreeFam team
(Fabian, Mateus)


Pfam 27.0 is now available!

March 22, 2013

In a blog post published just over a year ago, I proposed a number of changes to the content of Pfam to improve scalability and usability of the database.  These changes came into effect a few days ago, when we released Pfam 27.0.  This release of Pfam contains a total of 14831 families, with 1182 new families and 22 families killed since release 26.0. 80% of all proteins in UniProt contain a match to at least one Pfam domain, and 58% of all residues in the sequence database fall within a Pfam domain. Read the rest of this entry »


Dfam paper is an NAR “featured article”; RepeatMasker4 is out

January 12, 2013

We are pleased to announce that the Dfam paper (“Dfam: a database of repetitive DNA based on profile hidden Markov models“) is now available in the 2013 NAR Database issue, and has been selected as a “featured article” (meaning the NAR editorial board thinks it is among “the top 5% of papers in terms of originality, significance and scientific excellence”).

In other exciting news, two members of the Dfam consortium, Arian Smit and Robert Hubley (Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle), just released RepeatMasker 4.0. This is a major update that, among other important improvements, adds support for searching with Dfam and nhmmer. Go get yourself a copy at http://www.repeatmasker.org/

Posted by Travis


TreeFam: What’s in the next release

December 10, 2012

Behind the scenes we are working hard on building the next TreeFam release, which will be TreeFam 9.

TreeFam 9 will have 109 species, that is a 37% increase over TreeFam 8. Most of the species come from EnsEMBL (v.69) and EnsEMBL genomes (v.16) with a few ones coming from JGI.

Besides that – and probably most important for the user – will be our new web site. Based on the success of other Xfam-databases like Pfam [5], Rfam [6] and -most recently- Dfam [7], we decided to give the TreeFam website a face lift by adapting it to the Xfam look&feel.

So, there are great things to come and soon we will have our next blog post.
The next TreeFam blog post will then be about TreeFam 9!


The Rfam NAR paper is now available!

November 23, 2012

For some light weekend reading, have a look at the latest Rfam paper, Rfam 11.0: 10 years of RNA Families.  It’s part of the 2013 Nucleic Acids Research Database issue, and you’ll find all the latest developments to Rfam mentioned, including the sunbursts, the Biomart and an update on the Wikipedia annotation effort.


R-chie arc diagrams now available in our secondary structure galleries

November 19, 2012

We are pleased to announce the inclusion of R-chie arc diagrams in the Rfam family secondary structure galleries. We think these images are beatiful and intuitive ways of visualising complex RNA secondary structures, and we hope that you find them as useful as we do. You can find the R-chie tab in the secondary structure image gallery for each family; from there you can zoom in and out of the images, as well as viewing the image in a seperate window. The majority of Rfam families have R-chie images; those which don’t are families without secondary structure. Have a look at the U1 spliceosomal RNA, or tRNA for examples.

The R-chie diagrams are created using the R4RNA R package from Irmtraud Meyer’s group; be sure to check out the R-chie paper, as well as their own gallery of Rfam structures.


Dfam 1.1 released

November 15, 2012

We are pleased to announce that we’ve released Dfam 1.1. This version represents a few important changes from 1.0, including updated hit results, a new tab for each entry page showing relationships to other entries, and improved handling of redundant profile hits.

Read the rest of this entry »


What’s new in AntiFam?

November 13, 2012

We have recently produced a new release of AntiFam, release 3.0. AntiFam has grown in size, and release 3.0 contains 54 entries – compared to just 23 when we last blogged about AntiFam (release 1.1).  Over 80 % of these new entries arise from translations of non-coding RNAs, including several families from translations of rRNA, tmRNA and RNaseP.

Read the rest of this entry »


We’re on the move

November 1, 2012

After 15 great years at the Sanger Institute we are on the move. On the 1st November, the Cambridge Xfam group will be taking up residence at the European Bioinformatics Institute on the other side of the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus. We’ll keep running the websites at Sanger for a bit longer, but eventually we’ll get them migrated over to EBI webspace. We’re hoping that the move will not cause any disruption to our users, but we might be a little bit slower at responding to your questions and bug reports.
We’ll keep you posted on updates to the website and database locations using the blog and our Twitter account.


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