Wissler L, Dattolo E, Moore AD, Reusch THB, Olsen JL, Migliaccio M, Bornberg-Bauer E, Procaccini G
Dr. Zompo: an online data repository for Zostera marina and Posidonia oceanica ESTs
Database 2009: bap 009, 2009

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As ecosystem engineers, seagrasses are angiosperms of paramount ecological importance in shallow shoreline habitats around the globe. Furthermore, the ancestors of independent seagrass lineages have secondarily returned into the sea in separate, independent evolutionary events. Thus, understanding the molecular adaptation of this clade not only makes significant contributions to the field of ecology, but also to principles of parallel evolution as well. With the use of Dr. Zompo, the first interactive seagrass sequence database presented here, new insights into the molecular adaptation of marine environments can be inferred. The database is based on a total of 14 597 ESTs obtained from two seagrass species, Zostera marina and Posidonia oceanica, which have been processed, assembled and comprehensively annotated. Dr. Zompo provides experimentalists with a broad foundation to build experiments and consider challenges associated with the investigation of this class of non-domesticated monocotyledon systems. Our database, based on the Ruby on Rails framework, is rich in features including the retrieval of experimentally determined heat-responsive transcripts, mining for molecular markers (SSRs and SNPs), and weighted key word searches that allow access to annotation gathered on several levels including Pfam domains, GeneOntology and KEGG pathways. Well established plant genome sites such as The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) and the Rice Genome Annotation Project are interfaced by Dr. Zompo. With this project, we have initialized a valuable resource for plant biologists in general and the seagrass community in particular. The database is expected to grow together with more data to come in the near future, particularly with the recent initiation of the Zostera genome sequencing project.