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Methods Mol Biol. 2007;395:75-96.

GenColors: annotation and comparative genomics of prokaryotes made easy.

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  • 1Biocomputing Group, Leibniz Institute for Age Research.


GenColors (gencolors.fli-leibniz.de) is a new web-based software/database system aimed at an improved and accelerated annotation of prokaryotic genomes considering information on related genomes and making extensive use of genome comparison. It offers a seamless integration of data from ongoing sequencing projects and annotated genomic sequences obtained from GenBank. A variety of export/import filters manages an effective data flow from sequence assembly and manipulation programs (e.g., GAP4) to GenColors and back as well as to standard GenBank file(s). The genome comparison tools include best bidirectional hits, gene conservation, syntenies, and gene core sets. Precomputed UniProt matches allow annotation and analysis in an effective manner. In addition to these analysis options, base-specific quality data (coverage and confidence) can also be handled if available. The GenColors system can be used both for annotation purposes in ongoing genome projects and as an analysis tool for finished genomes. GenColors comes in two types, as dedicated genome browsers and as the Jena Prokaryotic Genome Viewer (JPGV). Dedicated genome browsers contain genomic information on a set of related genomes and offer a large number of options for genome comparison. The system has been efficiently used in the genomic sequencing of Borrelia garinii and is currently applied to various ongoing genome projects on Borrelia, Legionella, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas genomes. One of these dedicated browsers, the Spirochetes Genome Browser (sgb.fli-leibniz.de) with Borrelia, Leptospira, and Treponema genomes, is freely accessible. The others will be released after finalization of the corresponding genome projects. JPGV (jpgv.fli-leibniz.de) offers information on almost all finished bacterial genomes, as compared to the dedicated browsers with reduced genome comparison functionality, however. As of January 2006, this viewer includes 632 genomic elements (e.g., chromosomes and plasmids) of 293 species. The system provides versatile quick and advanced search options for all currently known prokaryotic genomes and generates circular and linear genome plots. Gene information sheets contain basic gene information, database search options, and links to external databases. GenColors is also available on request for local installation.

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