16 December, 2009

Ensembl Events in January 2010

For the beginning of the new year we have the following Ensembl events lined up:

9-13 Jan: Ensembl & Ensembl Genomes demo at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference XVIII, San Diego, CA, US
19-20 Jan: Ensembl module in the EBI Bioinformatics Roadshow at City of Hope, Duarte, CA, US
25-27 Jan: Ensembl module in the EBI Tools for Genomics and Proteomics workshop at the Moroccan Society of Bioinformatics, Tangier, Morocco
28 Jan: Browser workshop at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

10 December, 2009

New on Pre!

Updated elephant and gorilla genomes are now available on the Ensembl Pre! site.

They will be released in full with annotated gene sets in Ensembl 57 (due spring 2010). The new gorilla assembly (gorGor2) includes short-read and capillary sequences. The elephant genome (Loxafr3.0) was also updated, and is at 7x coverage. The 57 release will present new genebuilds for both species.

08 December, 2009

Release 57 rescheduled

Ensembl release 57 has been rescheduled for mid to late February 2010.

We had originally planned for release 57 to be this week, but our final quality checks identified a significant error in the unreleased data set. Because of this, we feel that our users would be better served by rescheduling the release to ensure that we provide the best possible data resources for the community.

On behalf of everyone in the project, thank you for your continued support of Ensembl and we wish you all the very best for the holiday season and the new year.

27 November, 2009

BLAST problems

BLAST should be available again - following the recent scripting, the server hard drive had filled up, so that it was unable to process any more requests. We have cleared some space, so the server is now able to accept tickets once again.

Please accept our apologies for the continued downtime.

24 November, 2009

SNP consequences

Did you know that you can use the ensembl API to predict the consequences of your own SNP positions? This is a really popular question and there is some example code on the website to guide you through this. See an example here. This functionality is available from ensembl release 56 but we have also recently patched release 54 in case you need to use the NCBI 36 human assembly.
Soon there will be a page on the website where you can upload your data and we will project SNP consequences for you.

BLAST back online

Our BLAST/BLAT service has been re-enabled, following a problem with the server hosting the BLAT logs which has now been fixed. Thank you for your patience.

23 November, 2009

Ensembl Events in December 2009

After two extremely busy months things are getting quieter again on the Ensembl training front. For December we have the following events scheduled:

3 Dec: Browser workshop for Master's students at University College London, London, UK
9 Dec: Browser workshop at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

20 November, 2009

BLAST unavailable

We have had to disable BLAST temporarily owing to excessive load on the servers. The service will be enabled as soon we have analysed the problem.

17 November, 2009

BLAST back online

We have now repaired the BLAST database and the service is once more available. We will be monitoring the situation, but hopefully no further action will be required.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

16 November, 2009

BLAST unavailable

We regret that owing to problems with our BLAST server, we have had to disable this feature temporarily, as issues with tickets were bringing down the whole Ensembl website. We will endeavour to have BLAST back online as soon as possible; please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

22 October, 2009

Ensembl Events in November 2009

October was quite a busy month for the Ensembl Outreach team, but November is even busier:

2 Nov: Developers workshop at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
4-10 Nov: Ensembl module in the Computational & Comparative Genomics course, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, US
5-6 Nov: Ensembl Genomes module in the EBI Roadshow at the University of Szeged, Hungary
9 Nov: Browser workshop at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10 Nov: Browser workshop at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
12-13 Nov: Browser workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
12 Nov: Browser workshop at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, US
13 Nov: Browser workshop at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, US
13 Nov: Presentation at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, US
16 Nov: Browser workshop at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, US
17-18 Nov: Ensembl module in The Genome Access Course, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, US
18 Nov: Presentation for EBI/EMBL Ph.D. students, Hinxton, UK
24 Nov: Browser workshop at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid, Spain
26-27 Nov: Developers workshop at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), Lausanne, Switzerland
26 Nov: Browser workshop at the Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
28 Nov: Browser workshop at CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate, Naples, Italy
30 Nov - 1 Dec: Ensembl module in the Wellcome Trust Open Door Workshop - Working with the Human Genome Sequence, Hinxton, UK
30 Nov - 2 Dec: Developers workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

19 October, 2009

Aloha ASHG

From this little corner of the world Ensembl will be delivering an Interactive Workshop on Friday (October 23rd) from noon (12.00) in Room 315 in the Convention Center. If you want to attend, let us know as seating is restricted and we are allocating seats until the room is full. You must bring a laptop with a wireless card (and a fully charged battery).

Furthermore, you can also visit us on booth 432 where we will be happy to help you and get any feedback.

08 October, 2009

Ensembl Genomes Release 3

We are pleased to announce the third release of EnsemblGenomes, which includes the first release of two new Ensembl-based portals, Ensembl Plants and Ensembl Fungi.

These complete the span of Ensembl Genomes portals across the taxonomic space, complementing the coverage of vertebrate genomes available through Ensembl.

  • Ensembl Plants has been built in collaboration with Gramene and includes the genomes of six monocots and two dicots. Variation databases are available for four of these species.
  • Ensembl Fungi includes a new build of the Sacchromyces cerevisiae genome using the latest data from SGD, including variation data derived from the Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project; and Ensembl databases for Schizosaccharomyces pombe (built in collaboration with GeneDB_Spombe) and eight species of Aspergillus (built in collaboration with the Central Aspergillus Database Repository, CADRE).
  • User upload databases are now operational for Ensembl Protists, Fungi, Plants and Metazoa, allowing users to visualise their own data in the Ensembl environment.
Ensembl Genomes release 3 has been built using Ensembl 55 software. We aim to synchronise with Ensembl with our next release (Ensembl Genomes 4/Ensembl 57), and to stay synchronised thereafter.

01 October, 2009

Genomewide comparative displays

When we changed our look and feel almost a year ago, we "left behind" our two main graphical genome-wide comparative genomics displays (our textual comparative genomics displays remains, as did some of the gene centric ones). These were some of the most complex displays, not only in the graphics layout but also in aspects such as configuration - with comparative genomics tracks with up to 30 species, potentially one has the union of all tracks in each species, and doing this consistently required reworking how we thought about the "same" or "different" tracks across species.

It's taken longer than we thought it would, but finally in release 56 these displays are back and better than ever. With more aggressive caching of data items as they head to the web (and, in addition, if you are on the west coast of the US or the Pacific Rim, check out the US west mirror at uswest.ensembl.org) they go far faster, making them far more useable.

We have two fundamentally different ways of thinking about genomic alignments.

In "Multi Sequence View", which works fundamentally as a set of pairwise alignments, we maintain the linear sequence of each genome, and then draw regions which are conserved between them. Check out displays like:


And make sure you hit "Configure Page" and in the Comparative Genomics section, switch on blastz. I also like to have genes in "Collapsed, labels" (so alternative splicing doesn't produce excessive displays) and also switch on Regulatory Features.

Now - you get a nice picture of this region in human and mouse. The orthologous gene (PECI) has conserved exons, and the regulatory features at the start of this gene is conserved in human and mouse and both cases classified as a promoter. All as expected.

But a closer look shows that the transcript going by the catchy name of AC123437.5 in mouse, going on the opposite strand has some of its exons overlapping to the human PECI, and Human PECI is duplicated into two local genes here. This is perhaps easier to see as one zooms out in this display (notice you can drag-and-select in the upper panels, or use the + and - bars to change in the lower panels)

Zoom Out

In contrast, the alignment (Image) view, asks you to choose one species as the co-linear
reference, and then the other species are organised specifically by the alignment of that
reference. This is ideal in more linear, orthologous regions. I like using the 10-way EPO alignment for visualisation/gene model comparison, although to go things like conservation analysis, you want to use the 31-way mammalian alignment with the low coverage data

This is gene, well conserved across mammals.

Co Linear

We can look at the precisely the same alignment from the perpsective of Mouse, Rat, Dog, Horse, Human, Pig. In each case, the alignment is unbiased to each species. For example, the Mouse-Rat portion of this multiple alignment still aligns the unique rodent portions.

Here is that same region from the perspective of Cow:


Notice when you go to human you have a choice of not only 4 different multiple alignments - a 4-way primate alignment, a 10-way mammalian alignment, a 12-way alignment including chicken and 31-way mammalian alignment, but also 40 odd other individual pairwise alignments.

In each case, you can get the alignment out as text - here's a 4-way primate alignment:

Text alignment

or the same region in a 31-way glory

31 one way text

Of course, all this information is also available to download or access through our Perl API. A particularly interesting thing in these alignments is the ability to switch on the ancestral sequence as well (go to the configuration panel).

More on the use and power of comparative genomics later I hope, but for the moment, do enjoy these displays being back, and do both browse around and download/script against them.


29 September, 2009

Release 56

The Ensembl project is pleased to announce release 56 of Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org/). Highlights of this release are:

Reintroduction of our multi-species views. Alignments (image), formerly alignsliceview, shows pairwise or multiple alignments from the Ensembl Compara database, highlighting any gaps in the alignment.

Multi-species view, formerly known as multicontigview, displays pairwise alignments without gaps; multiple pairwise alignments can be configured to create a multiple alignment display. As well as genes, other types of features such as regulatory features can be displayed in this view, making this a very useful display for comparative genomic analysis.

A new tab has been added in release 56 based on a Regulatory Feature object. This will enable better display some of the data underlying the Ensembl regulatory build. The new pages are accessed from the gene displays by clicking on the 'Regulation' link in the left-hand menu and then clicking on a regulatory stable ID in either the image popup menus or the table.

From release 56, users can upload wiggle plot data in WIG and bedGraph formats and view this data on various location-based views. At the moment, only a single style, "wiggle", is available on Region in Detail, whereas a selection of density plots are available on whole chromosome and karyotype images. In addition, Region in Detail now supports greyscale rendering of BED scores via the useScore parameter in the file, and rendering of features in different colours via the itemRgb parameter and per-feature values.

New data in this release includes gene sets on two new species (Pig and Marmoset) and a new gene set on the existing Rat Rnor3.4 assembly. Also in this release is an updated human gene set which includes all the Havana manual annotation in the merge with the Ensembl automatic annotation set. This set represents the Encode project GENCODE 3b gene set. Also included is a new human variation database based on dbSNP 130 and mapped to assembly GRCh37.

For more information on these and other new features in this release visit:


28 September, 2009

Ensembl website downtime

We are currently in the process of releasing Ensembl 56, and should be back online within an hour or so.

Please note that all Ensembl-based sites will be offline at this time whilst we upgrade our user account database. Affected sites include Vega, Pre, the Ensembl archives and the US mirror. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.


18 September, 2009

Ensembl events in October 2009

In October Ensembl will feature on 4(!) different continents:

7 Oct: Browser workshop at the Centro de Biologia Molecular Severa Ochoa, Madrid, Spain
9 Oct: Browser workshop at the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Porto, Portugal
12-15 Oct: Ensembl module in the Wellcome Trust Open Door Workshop - Working with the Human Genome Sequence, Bangkok, Thailand
20 Oct: Demo for the National Genetics Reference Lab, Manchester, UK
20 Oct: Ensembl module in the Hands-on training at EBI - A dip into EBI resources: understanding your data - New resources and Future Directions, Hinxton, UK
22-23 Oct: Browser workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
23 Oct: Demo at the ASHG 2009 meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, US
23 Oct: Developers workshop at the Bejing Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, China
27 Oct: Browser workshop at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid, Spain *postponed to 24 Nov*
27-28 Oct: Browser workshop at Cape Biotech, Cape Town, South Africa
30 Oct - 2 Nov: Developers workshop at the CSHL Genome Informatics 2009 meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, US

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

15 September, 2009

NCBI36 Ensembl Site

Ensembl announces the release of http://ncbi36.ensembl.org. This Ensembl site is for users who still need access to the NCBI36 human assembly. It is actually a complete copy of the Ensembl 54 release which was the last Ensembl release containing NCBI36.

Although access was already possible through the Ensembl archive sites, the new ncbi36.ensembl.org site will provide better performance because it is running on separate hardware. Also ncbi36.ensembl.org provides Blast/Blat search support which the archives do not.

The main reason we have provided a dedicated site for NCBI36 is for two large projects (Encode and 1000 Genomes) which have some of their data aligned on this assembly. ncbi36.ensembl.org will only be up for as long as there is significant need for it. We will be reviewing usage in Spring 2010 and currently plan to remove the site by Summer 2010. After that time users will still be access the NCBI36 assembly via the archive sites, there just won't be a dedicated site for it anymore.

21 August, 2009

Ensembl events in September 2009

The Summer holiday time is almost over, so the Ensembl trainers are getting up to speed again in preparation for Autumn, which will be the busiest time of year for them.

The coming month we will have the following Ensembl events:

7 Sep: Demo for the National Genetics Reference Lab, Manchester, UK
7-10 Sep: Ensembl module in the EBI roadshow at the University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
16-17 Sep: Browser workshop at the Erasmus MC Molecular Medicine Postgraduate School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

Do you want to attend an Ensembl workshop, but are we never coming to your part of the world? Why not see if you can host a workshop at your own university / institute? For more information have a look here or mail us.

If you are in the Western US, we also may still be able to include your university / institute in our Western US tour coming January. Interested? Please mail me for more details.

19 August, 2009

EnsemblFungi (beta) now available...

In addition to Release 2 of Ensembl Genomes early this month, EBI-EMBL would also like to announce the new arrival of Ensembl Fungi (beta).

Release includes:

  • 2 yeast genomes: Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
  • 7 Aspergillus genomes A.clavatus, A.flavus, A.fumigatus, A.niger, A.oryzae, A.terreus and Neosartorya fischeri.
If you have any comments or feedback please do not hesitate to contact us at helpdesk@ensemblgenomes.org.

07 August, 2009

BLAST downtime now over

To our BLAST users,

BLAST is online again, the maintenance is finished.

Thank you for your patience.

The Ensembl team.

We have scheduled some downtime for our BLAST database servers on Monday 10th August *Postponed to Tuesday, 11 Aug*, in order to install some security patches. We will also be trying out an upgrade path and pushing that out to the main BLAST server if it proves compatible. There will be a downtime of between 30 minutes and 12 hours, depending on how smoothly the maintenance goes. The rest of the Ensembl website should be unaffected.

We suggest that you avoid running BLAST or BLAT searches in the 48 hours preceding the maintenance work as we cannot guarantee that data will not be lost. We will update this post as soon as the maintanance has been finished.

Thank you for your patience,
The Ensembl Team

06 August, 2009

Ensembl Genomes: Release 2

EMBL-EBI is pleased to announce release 2 of Ensembl Genomes; extending Ensembl further across the taxonomic space!

Highlights for this release include:

  • 9 new genomes of Escherichia species; 4 new Bacillus and Streptococcus genomes; and additional genomes of Mycobacterium and Staphylococcus genera added to Ensembl Bacteria; taking the total bacteria species/strain count to 134.
  • Bacillus subtilis now represented using the re-annotation by Barbe et al. (Microbiology 155 2009, 1758-1775).
  • Comparative genomic analyses (bacteria, protist, metazoan and pan-taxonomic Compara databases) updated.
  • Ensembl 54 software
Keep an eye out for Release 3 in September, which will include plants and fungi...

21 July, 2009

West Coast Mirror

This year we've invested in our own mirror - maintained by us - on the west coast of the US. This was mainly because assessing the web return time for our users showed a consistent additional 3 to 4 seconds if you were lucky enough to live out on the west coast (worse still if you are in Australia!). Although we did alot last year to improve the general response time of our web pages (for example, compressing our CSS and Javascript down to single files for the whole site, so these are only loaded once and then cach'ed locally), the Ensembl site delivers alot of dynamic content - and nothing but getting closer to the users can help this.

You can reach the site directly at uswest.ensembl.org or alternatively there is a little "world" icon on the top right of the page which switches to the star-and-stripes when you're on the west coast. Having the mirror not only helps our users who are on the west coast but also provides resilience when our main site goes down. As we're responsibile for provisioning it in-sync with our main site (its part of our release process) this mirror will stay current with the main site.

In some sense the mirror should be a low cost "per user" for us having the mirror - if users go to the mirror, it means less load on the main site, and so it's really how we distribute the "web farm" that sits behind Ensembl geographically. However, there are overheads from hiring rack space in the US to making our own release cycle more complex. This means we will need to assess whether running a US mirror makes sense in the long term. Our instinct is yes, but we need hard data on this.

These things need time to pick up, but already we'd be interested in feedback on this - for US users, is this site faster for you - in particular for East coast people who we think are probably still best off on the main site. Does it change with time of day? For Pacific rim users - Japan, Singapore, Korea, Australia - is the west coast site snappier for you? We'll be putting in place our own monitoring schemes, but user feedback is always good...

20 July, 2009

Ensembl browser workshops Western US January 2010

The Ensembl Outreach team is currently looking into the possibility of giving some 1-day Ensembl browser workshops in the Western US in the period directly after the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, which takes place from 9-13 January 2010. Hosting institutions would only have to pay the instructor's expenses (accommodation and subsistence) and would share the domestic travel costs, but we would not otherwise charge for the workshops.
For more information about our browser workshops, please have a look here.
Interested? Please contact me for more details at bert@ebi.ac.uk.

15 July, 2009

Release 55

The Ensembl project is pleased to announce release 55 of Ensembl. Highlights of this release are:

* New GRCh37 human assembly;
* Wallaby 2x genome;
* Ability to display uploaded data on individual chromosomes or whole karyotype.

For more information visit our What's New page.

14 July, 2009

Ensembl Regulatory Features - now Martable

Release 55 has lots of goodies - not least the new, coordinated, GRCh37 assembly (more on that later), but one addition is the Martability of Ensembl Regulatory Features. Regulatory features are on by default on Human and Mouse, and each gene has a specific page for the regulatory features (for example http://www.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Gene/Regulation?g=ENSG00000139618). Regulatory Features are developing fast, and the Martability is bringing out the richer information in the functional genomics database - for example, the classification of features into "promoter", "gene associated" and "unclassified". Next release we're hoping to release a more graphical view for each feature, but the present of the regulatory features in Mart allows the large scale users - from Perl, Java, R or just plain-only tab delimited text - to use them.

We're expecting alot of development in this area - the addition of Mouse DNaseI sites has allowed us to develop a Mouse build, and of course, the ENCODE project which is now on line in production mode will provide a far richer, deeper, dataset to work against.

So - watch this space.

08 July, 2009

More about the world of Ensembl

Who is using us?

During the long flight from London to Seoul, where I'm now giving workshops, I had time to do some analysis.

We have recently changed the way we analyse traffic on our website. Urchin Software allows us to pinpoint access to our site with more accuracy. (In a previous post, I showed data where some domains were excluded in the representation).

This month's data (June 2009) is more comprehensive and can be shown with the following heatmap. Again, dark-coloured countries show more use than lightly shaded ones. We can now detect some low level traffic in the African continent missed in previous analyses.

Following a recent thread, I normalised these data taking into account population. (Did I mention how long the flight from London to Seoul actually is?) This puts the Netherlands as the country with the highest ratio of Ensembl users normalised by population, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, Iceland, Germany, Denmark and Singapore (the first non European country in the list) pushing the United States (excluding traffic from the US mirror) to the 15th position.

On another matter, I'm glad to see that our user base in this country is well established. Apart from the obvious Seoul, we can also see access from Taejon, Kwangju, Taegu, Pusan, Inchon, Pohang and up to 29 locations in the country, and following these workshops we hope this will increase further.

As they say over here 안녕


02 July, 2009

Go, go, go .... the new Ensembl ontology database and API

Starting with release 55 of Ensembl we provide an ensembl_ontology database. It replaces the older ensembl_go database which used to be loaded straight from the public table dumps provided by the Gene Ontology group (and hence wasn't really an Ensembl database to start with). The associated API is now part of the Ensembl Core API, which should make working with GO terms in Ensembl more straightforward than it was in the past. Available methods include, amongst others, fetching all parent or child terms of a given GO term and fetching all genes, transcripts or translations annotated with a given GO term.

More detailed documentation on both database and API can be found at ensembl/misc-scripts/ontology/README.

Credit for developing the ensembl_ontology database and API goes to Andreas Kahari of the Ensembl Software team.

26 June, 2009

Colourful gene trees

We have some news for the forthcoming ensembl release. We have added a few more display options for our gene trees. It will be possible to colour the background of the trees based on the taxonomy. It will be much easier to locate orthologues or paralogues in a given clade. For people who prefer more subtle colouring, they can choose to colour the branches instead.

It will also be possible to automatically collapse all the genes for a given clade. In the example shown in this figure, glires and diptera are collapsed. Moreover, the new version will also allow you to hide fish genes for instance or even all genes from low-coverage genomes.

All these options are configurable from the configure panel available through the 'configure page' link in the left panel.

25 June, 2009

Ensembl Workshops in July

The summer is a time for research institutions to focus on research (or go on holiday). This causes a decrease in our Ensembl Outreach and Training (at least, workshop-wise!) However, we are giving a few workshops in July.

2 July: Internal Developer's Course (let's see what the developers themselves have to say about browsing Ensembl!)
6-7 July: Browser modules in EBI roadshow, Poznan Summerschool of Bioinformatics, Poland
9-10 July: Browser workshop in Seoul, Korea (Korea National Institute of Health)
13 July: Browser workshop in Daejeon, Korea (KRIBB)
13 July: Browser workshop at Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, for campus employees
14-15 July: Browser workshop in Pusan, Korea (Pusan National University)

Don't forget, we have loads of training videos on our tutorials page (and YouTube channel!)

15 June, 2009

US Mirror

Ensembl is pleased to announce the release of its West Coast US mirror (uswest.ensembl.org). This is a full mirror of the current Ensembl 54 release. We are providing this mirror to improve performance for users in the US, particularly on the West coast. It includes full search, BioMart and BLAST support (BLAST searching is actually run at Sanger with results passed back to the mirror).

This mirror is managed directly by the Ensembl web team, and we will aim to update it along with the main site, to keep it current. Credit for gettting this mirror up goes to James Smith and Eugene Bragin from the web team, with support from the Sanger systems team, particularly Peter Clapham, John Nicholson and Dave Holland.

Future plans: We will improve the mirror in the near future by allowing users to switch between the main and mirror site. Currently, we do not suggest logging in to the mirror. All user data must be retrieved by the main site at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus. Speed is optimal if login is not used, however this will be improved in the future.

Many thanks,
The Ensembl Team

14 June, 2009

A view of the world from Ensembl

Following our recent post updating you with feedback from our recent user survey, I wanted to share with you the following data. I've been data mining our web logs to get a picture of worldwide access to Ensembl (this is page impressions) and I put them on a heat map representing access to our browser (this doesn't include either BioMart or direct access of our public databases). I filtered out commercial IP addresses (i.e. all those .com, and .net) to simplify the analysis. Countries are shaded according to how much they accessed the Ensembl browser in the month of May. Dark countries use the Ensembl browser more, light countries, less. And this is what you get:

Heat map May 2009

Can you see your country here? If not, consider running a browser workshop in order to join our wide community of Ensembl users!

This map should help us to monitor the success of our workshops (at this moment I'm writing this from Venezuela which hopefully should appear in future heat maps!) Although there are still some gaps in the map, we are happy to see that Ensembl is used globally and our efforts are recompensed. Training leads to more in depth understanding of how to use the browser, and we think our worldwide workshops are helpful in using Ensembl to guide and enhance research.

Greetings from Venezuela, or as you would say here... ¡Hasta la próxima


10 June, 2009

Thanks for your feedback!

Dear all,

Thanks to all of you who participated in our Ensembl browser survey, which closed at well over 150 respondents. We appreciate hearing from users worldwide, and our responses came from Europe, the Americas, Asia, India, New Zealand and Australia.

We will be able to move forward based on the feedback, in order to make the browser smoother and easier to use.

Some of the things we learned.

How often do you use Ensembl?

The majority of our users (83%) access the Ensembl browser multiple times per week. (See pie chart above). A similar survey run by Ensembl in 2007 reflected a much lower figure: only 32% of users browsed as frequently, with the majority of respondents accessing the browser once a month or less. Genome browsers appear to have moved from being tentative, browse-for-interest curiousities to comprehensive resources that can be integrated into daily research.

We were pleased to see our users are accessing many types of Ensembl data, from transcripts to variations to comparative genomics. Most respondents found the tabs in our new interface to be intuitive, so we won't change those! Many users scroll through views using the buttons on each page, so again, we will keep those in place.

More of you are finding the Pre! and Archive! sites helpful. And 65% of users voted that the most important aspect was good information.

Things we will work on?

In addition to custom data and user upload advances, we are focusing on graphical display of our comparative data. These improvements are already in our pipeline. We did get some new ideas from the survey, for example, some of our respondents could not find the Pre! or Archive! pages. We will think about how to make these links more obvious.

Speed of the browser could be faster. We will keep you posted on the Ensembl mirror on the US west coast.

Finally, more users are finding our help pages and videos, including a new YouTube channel. and we will be constantly adding to the tutorials page. If you have ideas about videos or tutorials you would like to see, please send your comments to our helpdesk. We find it immensely helpful to hear feedback from our user community.

Thanks again for the view of Ensembl from our users! We will be polling again next year.

The Ensembl Team

28 May, 2009

Give us your feedback!

Hello all,

We are curious as to how our users are finding the current Ensembl web browser. We opened a survey in the current Ensembl (version 54). The survey will close in one week's time (Friday, 5 June). Thank you to everyone who has already entered their feedback.

For users who have not yet replied to the survey, we ask that you spare 10 minutes or so of your time to do so. Please give us your thoughts and feedback by clicking on the link below:


The feedback centers on the web browser, specifically the new interface launched in Nov, 2008.

Many thanks for your time.

The Ensembl Team

21 May, 2009

Ensembl Events in June 2009

For June we have the following Ensembl events:

4-5 June : Browser workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
11 June: Demo for the National Genetics Reference Lab, Manchester, UK
15-16 June: Browser workshop at the Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela
18-19 June: Developers workshop at the Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela
22 June: Browser workshop for NHS Molecular Genetics Laboratories at Liverpool Women's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
24-26 June: Ensembl module in the Bioinformatics for Vascular Biology course at the EBI, Hinxton, UK
29 June: Browser workshop at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

15 May, 2009

Pre, Archive, and Vega downtime

Next week, 18-24 May, an upgrade is scheduled that will affect the following sites:

Archive sites versions 48-53 (Dec 2007-May 2009) (Downtime will start Monday 18 May)

BLAST and User Upload on Pre! sites (Wednesday 20 May)

BLAST and User Upload on the Vega site

We ask our users to plan to use these sites after the upgrade, if possible.

The Ensembl Team

14 May, 2009

Ensembl 55

We are currently working on our next release which is due at the end of June 2009 and will contain the following:


Human GRCh 37
We will be releasing a new genebuild for human based on the lastest assembly GRCh37 from the Genome Reference Consortium. A preliminary version of this assembly is available now in Ensembl Pre! Due to the new assembly we will have:
  • Updated repeat masking
  • New probeset mappings
  • cDNA update
  • A new ensembl-vega merge delivering a new gene set
Ensembl 55 includes the 2X genome for Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii), this will be a projection build similar to our other 2X species.

C. elegans
We will also include an import of the WormBase release WS200 database for C. elegans.

Anole lizard - A gene patch incorporating the gene set provided by Chris Ponting at Oxford University means that we have a new gene set for the green anole lizard (Anolis Carolinensis).

Mouse - The mouse cDNA alignments have been updated.

Zebrafinch - There will be an updated gene set for the 6X zebra finch genome.

Zebrafish - Non-coding RNAs will be added to the Zv8 zebrafish assembly and there will also be some changes to protein coding gene models and new repeats and expression patterns.


Schema Changes
  • Patch to update versions (patch_54_55_a.sql). * Add the missing types to go_xref (patch_54_55_b.sql).
  • Add new table dependent_xref (will hold the dependencys for the xrefs, i.e. if an EMBL entry come from a uniprot entry this relationship will be in the table)( patch_54_55_d.sql).
  • Add new tables for alternative splicing/transcript events (patch_54_55_c.sql).
  • Add new column 'is_constitutive' to the exon table (patch_54_55_e.sql)

Xrefs will be run for Human, Macacca, Opossum, Chimp, Chicken, Dog and Mouse (including Fantom Xrefs).

Ontology database schema and tools
The ensembl_go_NN databases are no longer being built. Instead we are replacing this with the ensembl_ontology_NN database which may be connected to using the core API.

Assembly mapping
Some of the databases will contain mapping coordinates between current and previous assemblies:
  • human: mapping from current GRCh37 to NCBI36, NCBI35 and NCBI34
  • mouse: mapping from current NCBIM37 to NCBIM36, NCBIM35 and NCBIM34
Other changes
  • API support for alternative transcripts/splicing events will be added
  • API support for constitutive exons will be added
  • Deprecated API modules will be removed
  • All slices will be created using the new_fast method from the SliceAdaptor to improve performance
  • seq_region seq edit support will be added. Seq_edits can already be stored and retrieved but these were not used in getting the sequence data. This will be changed so that "_rna_edit" attributes in the seq_region_attrib table will be used and the sequence changed.
  • MySQL and FASTA dumps will be copied to Amazon Public Datasets project
  • Gene name and xref projections

  • New functional genomics mart * A new Probe section added to Ensembl mart
  • New ontology mart
  • Constitutive exon information will be re-added to Ensembl mart

  • There will be a new human variation database generated by mapping NCBI36 coordinates to GRCh37 (using dbSNP 129)
  • Illumina array data for SNP/CNV is to be added
  • Transcript variations for Zebrafish and Zebrafinch will be reculated to include information from the new gene sets
  • Schema change - added a call to get consequence_type
Functional genomics
  • Human Regulatory Build will be updated using the GRCh37 assembly
  • Probe alignment and transcript annotation for all species will migrate from the core datbases to the functional genomics databases, this includes Affymetrix, Illumina, Codelink and Phalanx
  • Schema change, an is_current filed is to be added to the coord_system table
Comparative genomics

Alignments - The new human assembly means that the following alignments will be regenerated:
  • 9 eutherian mammals EPO multiple alignments
  • 31 eutherian mammals EPO multiple alignments
  • 12 amniota vertbrates Pecan multiple alignments
  • 4 catarrhini primate EPO multiple alignments
  • Pairwise BLASTZ-NET alignments of human against each of the other 9 and 31 eutherian mammals
  • Additional pairwise BLASTZ-NET alignments will be run for human-opossum, human-platypus, human- chicken and human-wallaby
  • Translated BLAT-NET will be regenerated for human against fugu, X.tropicalis, C.intestinalis, C.savignyi, stickleback, medaka, chicken, zebrafish, tetraodon, zebrafinch and anole lizard

Synteny will be recalculated for: rat vs. huamn, chicken vs. human and human vs. macaque, dog, chimpanzee, platypus, opossum, mouse, orangutan, horse and cow

Homologies amd families
  • 50 way GeneTrees and homologies with new/updated genebuilds and assemblies
  • Clustering using hcluster_sg
  • Multiple Sequence Alignments using consistency-based MCoffee meta-aligner (mafftgins + muscle + kalign + probcons) and new exon-skipping aware "skipper" algorithm.
  • New 'putative gene split' and 'distant paralog' homology types
  • Pairwise gene-based dN/dS calculations for high coverage species pairs
  • Updated MCL families including all Ensembl transcript isoforms and newest Uniprot Metazoa
  • Multiple sequence alignments with MAFFT
  • Stable IDs for GeneTrees (ENSGT00550NNNNNNNNN) and MCL Families (ENSFM00550NNNNNNNNN).

12 May, 2009

SNPs and ancestral alleles

The new Ensembl release includes a new view for SNPs and other genomic variations. It shows the alignment of the polymorphic position together with 10 base pairs of sequence up- and downstream. The user can choose among all available multiple alignments. Polymorphic positions in the other species are also shown.

This is very useful for looking at ancestral alleles, especially in combination with our EPO alignments as they include the inferred ancestral sequence. Although dbSNP provide predicted ancestral alleles for human SNPs, these are based on the chimp sequence only. In several cases, the ancestral sequence inferred from the multiple alignment is in disagreement with the chimp sequence like in this example. Using multiple alignments gives better results and more confidence to the calls.

08 May, 2009

Release 54 and pre.ensembl.org

The Ensembl project is pleased to announce release 54 of Ensembl. Highlights of this release are:

  • New Zv8 zebrafish assembly;
  • Comparative alignment text displays for variations and regions;
  • Ability to add personal notes to any Gene or Transcript.
For more information visit:
Along side this release we are also releasing a new version of the pre site. This now includes:

05 May, 2009

The eFG Array Mapping Environment

The Ensembl Functional Genomics (eFG) environment has been expanded to incorporate array mapping functionality. Historically, arrays from different vendors have been processed in similar, but non-identical ways due to differing array designs, with the output being stored in the core database. The 'arrays' environment unifies this process within the eFG database to provide a new standardised array mapping procedure for all array formats. This involves a two step process whereby probe sequences are aligned both to genomic and transcript sequences, and then subsequently transcripts are annotated with xrefs(DBEntries) dependant on the quality of the probe alignments around a given transcript locus.

The 'arrays' environment provides easily accessible and interactive command line functions to help run and administer the array mapping pipeline. Recent developments include broader array format support and multi-species capability, along with capture of much more detailed mapping information. This data has yet to be seen in the Ensembl browser, but from release 55 we will start redirecting the web displays to use the eFG data, with a view to developing a more detailed 'Probe' panel at some point later in the year.

We will endeavour to provide alignments and mappings of all popular arrays, for all others we invite you to try out the eFG 'arrays' environment. For more information check out(literally):


Or see it online here.

If you have any questions, please mail ensembl-dev@ebi.ac.uk

02 May, 2009

Browser Training in Vienna on 22 May

The Ensembl Genome Browser project is pleased to announce a workshop on 22 May as a satellite meeting of the European Human Genetics Conference in Vienna, Austria. This full-day workshop is aimed at geneticists and life scientists, and will explore genes, variations, and comparative information using the browser's new interface released Nov, 2008. An introduction to large-scale data retrieval with BioMart will be included. We will also feature brief introductions into the European Genotype Archive (EGA) and the 1000 Genomes Project. The format of our browser workshops are described on our outreach page.

The course on 22 May is held at a central location- the Vienna University Computer Service.

The workshop is free, however limited places are available. Please register if you will be attending.

23 April, 2009

Ensembl Events in May 2009

For May we have the following Ensembl events:

29 April - 1 May: Ensembl Developers workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
8 May: Browser workshop at Imperial College, London, UK
11-13 May: Ensembl module in the Wellcome Trust Open Door Workshop - Working with the Human Genome Sequence, Hinxton, UK
11-15 May: Ensembl module in the EBI hands-on training A walktrough EBI Bioinformatics Resources, Hinxton, UK
12-13 May: Ensembl module in the EBI roadshow at the Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, France
19-21 May: Ensembl module in the EBI roadshow at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
22 May: Browser workshop at the European Human Genetics Conference, Vienna, Austria
26 May: Ensembl Developers workshop at the VIB Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology, Ghent, Belgium
27-28 May: Browser workshop at the Erasmus MC Molecular Medicine Postgraduate School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

20 April, 2009

Ensembl Genomes live!

Today the long-awaited Ensembl Genomes went live! This is a 'sister project' focusing on those species that aren't part of Ensembl, i.e. non-vertebrates. Please have a look at what the Ensembl Genomes team have to say about it themselves:

"We are delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Ensembl Bacteria, Ensembl Protists and Ensembl Metazoa, the first sites to be launched as part of the EBI's "Ensembl Genomes" project to extend the use of the Ensembl browser to non-vertebrate genomes.

These following site are available:


Additional sites for fungi and plants are in development and will be launched during the summer of this year.

In the Ensembl Genomes project, we are aiming to do two things: firstly to work with particular communities to support the bioinformatic analysis of genome-scale data; and secondly, to provide an integrative portal to data from species of scientific interest from across the taxonomic space. In pursuit of both these aims, we will re-use and extend the proven Ensembl software system, that has been developed by EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the context of vertebrate genomics.

As with Ensembl, Ensembl Genomes will provide access to DNA and protein sequence, positional and functional annotation of protein-coding and non-protein coding genes, repeat analysis and other features and statistics. An interesting feature made available with the release of Ensembl Genomes is the inclusion of a multi-way comparative genomic analysis performed using a selection of species from bacteria to humans, and the production of gene trees showing the inferred ancestral relationships within deeply conserved protein families. Comparative resources are also provided at a narrower level (for example, DNA and protein-based analyses of individual bacterial clades). In partnership with collaborators, we are working on capturing gene expression, and population-scale variation data, in a number of contexts. More generally, we anticipate the ongoing enrichment of these resources through the integration of increasing quantities of high throughput data now becoming routinely available for all species.

Ensembl Genomes will provide access to data through the usual routes supported for vertebrate data; web-based browser, FTP site, programmatic API, DAS, and BioMart-style data warehouse; as well as text and sequence-based search.

We look forward to working with you as future producers and consumers of data. More information about the project is available at http://www.ensemblgenomes.org. We will be happy to receive any feedback you might wish to offer us at helpdesk@ensemblgenomes.org."

03 April, 2009

Ensembl Tips: Navigating the Browser

Though the overall response has been good, a few Ensembl users are finding it difficult to switch from the old interface to the new browser launched Nov, 2008. For those users, functionality has not been lost. You should still be able to do the same tasks as before in a faster interface.

We will post a series of tips to show you how to make the switch from the old interface to the new. If you still have trouble, please watch our video tutorial: Browsing Ensembl.

TIP: I want to use ExonView. Where is this now?

To view the full genomic sequences, exons and introns, go to any transcript. (Exons are transcript information. To see the exons page, go to a transcript tab, not the gene tab.) Click on the 'Exons' link under 'Sequence' at the left of any transcript page.

To show the full introns, click on 'Configure this page' at the left. Select 'Show full intronic sequence'. Click 'Save and Close' at the top right corner of the menu window.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Email us at helpdesk@ensembl.org.

26 March, 2009

Ensembl Events in April 2009

For April we have the following Ensembl events:

31 March - 1 April : Browser workshop at the IGC, Oeiras, Portugal
2-3 April: Ensembl Developers workshop at the IGC, Oeiras, Portugal
16 April: Demo for the National Genetics Reference Lab, Manchester, UK
17 April: Browser workshop at Imperial College, London, UK
22 April: Browser workshop at Imperial College, London, UK *postponed to 8 May*
27-29 April: Ensembl module in the EBI roadshow at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
27-29 April: BioMart module in the EBI hands-on training Programmatic Access to Biological Databases (Java), Hinxton, UK
29 April - 1 May: Ensembl Developers workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

05 March, 2009

New Release (53)!

Ensembl just updated the live site and underlying databases to
version 53.

Some new features include 'Active Tracks' and a searchable 'Configure this page'!

Go to any region of the chromosome.

Click 'Configure this page' at the left.

'Active tracks' allows you to see (and deselect) all tracks that are turned on.

'Search display' allows you to search for tracks in the menus. In this example, we searched for UniProt. Tracks from different menus appear.

For more updates, including new species, variations, and Amazon Web Services, see the news.

27 February, 2009

Ensembl 54

We are already working on our next release (out late in April 2009) which will come with the following:


We will be releasing a new genebuild for zebrafish (with updated repeat masking) based on the latest assembly Zv8. Thus, we'll have a new gene set (with new probeset mappings).

A gene patch (fixing split genes) based on human/mouse 1:1 orthologues. Therefore we have a new gene set.


  • cDNA update
  • New ensembl-vega merge delivering a "new gene set".
  • cDNA update
  • New ensembl-vega comparison, delivering a "new gene set" .
New gene sets (ncRNA genes) for several low coverage genomes:
Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii), elephant (Loxodonta africana), hyrax (Procavia capensis), megabat (Pteropus vampyrus), tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and alpaca (Vicugna pacos).

  • New functional genomics mart
Minor schema changes

  • cDNA update
  • Update versions (patch_53_54_a.sql)
  • Increase size of oligo_probe.name (patch_53_54_b.sql)
  • Increase size of external_db.db_name (patch_53_54_c.sql)
  • Move analysis_id from identity_xref to object_xref (patch_53_54_d.sql)
  • Increase size of analysis.logic_name (patch_53_54_e.sql)

Variation and Functional Genomics

  • Schema change to source table to add description column for web display
  • Updated zebafish database
  • Import Illumina data whenever available
  • Recalculate consequence type for mouse regulatory feature
  • eFG array mapping: Human, Mouse, Rat, Drosophila
  • Affymetrix (UTR/IVT + ST), Illumina (WG)
New mouse DNAse data to support the first Mouse RegulatoryBuild

Code Other

  • Amazon EC2 public datasets updated
  • New GO database (ensembl_ontology_54) and API
  • Changing default behaviour of TranscriptAdaptor
  • Translation attribs modified
  • Remove entries with spaces from species.classification
  • Gene name and xref projections

Pairwise alignments

Update the pairwise alignments for zebrafish (Danio rerio):

  • human-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • mouse-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • rat-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • chicken-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • frog-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • tetraodon-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • fugu-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • medaka-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • stickleback-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • Ciona savignyi-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
  • Ciona intestinalis-zebrafish translated BLAT-NET
Add new alignments for medaka:
  • human-medaka BLASTZ-NET (imported from UCSC)
  • mouse-medaka BLASTZ-NET (imported from UCSC)

The following files will be available for download:

  • EMF dumps for GeneTrees
  • EMF dumps for EPO and PECAN multiple alignments
  • BED files for 31 way GERP constrained elements
  • BED files for 12 way GERP constrained elements
Homologies and families
  • 49-way GeneTrees and Homologies, with new/updated gene sets and assemblies.
  • Multiple Sequence Alignments with consistency-based MCoffee
  • Meta-aligner (mafftgins+muscle+kalign+probcons).
  • Pairwise gene-based dN/dS calculations for high coverage species pairs.
  • Updated MCL families including all Ensembl AS isoforms and latest UniProt Metazoa.
  • Multiple Sequence Alignments with MAFFT

17 February, 2009

Ensembl Workshops in March, 2009

In March, explore Ensembl in the following events:

1-3: Presentation at the EURATools Annual meeting in Barcelona
5,6: Browser workshop at the Department of Genetics in Cambridge, UK
10: Browser workshop in Leuven, Belgium
13: Browser workshop at the Faculty of Science, Montevideo, Uruguay
16-19: Ensembl Module in the Open Door Workshop, Montevideo, Uruguay
19: Demo at the Bioinformatics Course, National Genetics Reference Lab, Manchester, UK
20: Browser workshop at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany
31: Browser workshop at King's College, London, UK
31 March, 1 April : Demo and Browser Workshop at the IGC Oeiras, Portugal
2,3 April: Ensembl API workshop at the IGC, Oeiras, Portugal

Check out microorganisms at Ensembl genomes featured in the EBI 'Sequence to Genes' Workshop, EBI, Hinxton, UK

For details about these and other upcoming workshops, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

25 January, 2009

Upcoming workshops February 2009

In February we will have the following Ensembl workshops:

10 Feb: Browser workshop at the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright
11 Feb: Browser workshop at the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Prague, Czech Republic
12 Feb: Developers workshop at the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Prague, Czech Republic
23 Feb: Ensembl module in the EBI Roadshow at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics in Nicosia, Cyprus
24-25 Feb: Developers workshop at the e-Science Centre in Edinburgh
26 Feb: Browser workshop at the Institute for Animal Health in Compton

For details about these and other upcoming workshops, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.

21 January, 2009

How to get all the orthologous genes between two species

Many users ask us about how to download data from ensembl. Usually, the answer is using BioMart. Comparative genomics data are also available in the standard Mart for your favorite species. For instance to get all the human-mouse orthologs, one can select the human dataset, filter all the genes with no mouse orthologs and choose to output the mouse orthologs for all the resulting genes.

Here is how to get these data in 10 simple steps
1. Go to: http://www.ensembl.org/biomart/martview
2. Choose "Ensembl 52"
3. Choose "Homo sapiens genes (NCBI36)"
4. Click on "Filters" in the left menu
5. Unfold the "MULTI SPECIES COMPARISONS" box, tick the "Homolog filters" option and choose "Orthologous Mouse Genes" from the drop-down menu.
6. Click on "Attributes" in the left menu
7. Click on "Homologs"
8. Unfold the "MOUSE ORTHOLOGS" box and select the data you want to get (most probably the gene ID and maybe the orthology type as well).
9. Click on the "Results" button (top left)
10. Choose your favorite output

Here is the preview of the results:

Other people may prefer to use our Compara Perl API or get the data directly from the Compara DB. These options are also available.

13 January, 2009

Extending Ensembl

Following a recent thread in our ensembl-dev mailing list, we can point our users to a recent post in the Gramene blog (a resources for grass genomes maintained at CSHL). This framework extends Ensembl with a data resource to browse several plant species: maize (Zea mays), rice (Oryza glaberrima and Oryza rufipogon), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana, grape (Vitis vinifera), and poplar (Populus trichocarpa); with comparative maps for additional species such as wheat (Triticum aestivum), barley (Hordeum vulgare) and oat (Avena sativa).

You can find some sample scripts to load an Ensembl species database from scratch, here.

Thanks to our colleagues at Gramene.

11 January, 2009

Ensembl Website road map...

We hope you like the new Ensembl website - we have had quite a lot of feedback about the system, and are digesting this to see how and where we can make the site more easy to use.

Missing features

We know there are a number of features which were in the webcode prior to the revamped version 51 that we are working on.

  • AlignSliceView [target e!53]
  • MultiContigView [target e!54]
  • CytoDump [will be released in e!53 as part of the export module]
  • DotterView
  • HistoryView - "ID liftover" [target e!53/4]
  • AssemblyConverter - "location liftover" [target e!53/4]
  • Drawing code tracks, e.g. rat QTLs, protein co-ordinate based DAS tracks [target e!53]
  • User gene annotations [target e!54]
New developments

We have a number of new "web" developments in the pipeline - some of these are listed below:
  • Extended configuration panel - searching for tracks, show currently active etc [target e!53]
  • Extended configuration panel - re-ordering tracks etc [target e!53]
  • Extended configuration panel - further configuration options - colour, depth, more display options, label options [target e!54/5]
  • New BLAST/BLAT interface [target e!55/6]
  • Re-write of the vertical drawing code to allow high quality PDF/PS/SVG karyotype and chromosome images to be produced.
  • Further work on export - finer configuration of what to export, exporting in multi-regions, integration with "user data"

09 January, 2009

Ensembl 53

We are already working on our next release (out late in February 2009) which will come with the following:


  • New species added to our set: sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), Anolis lizard (Anolis carolinensis) and zebrafinch (Taeniopygia guttata).
  • Updated marker information for human, cow, dog, horse, chicken, macaque, mouse and Medaka.
  • Updated manual annotation for mouse from VEGA.
Comparative Genomics
  • Pairwise alignments with the new species (human/sloth, zebrafinch/chicken, lizard/chicken).
  • New 31-way eutherian mammal alignment using these 2x genomes (based on the 9-way Enredo-Pecan-Ortheus multiple alignments): elephant (Loxondonta africana) , armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), tenrec (Echinops telfairi), rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), guinea pig (Cavia porcelus), hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), shrew (Sorex araneus), microbat (Myotis lucifugus), tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri), squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), bushbaby (Otolemur garnetii), pika (Ochotona princeps), mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), cat (Felis catus), megabat (Pteropus vampyrus), dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), alpaca (Vicugna pacos), kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii), hyrax (Procavia capensis), tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni).
  • The current clustering will be replaced by a hierarchical clustering sparse graphs (hcluster) for our trees.
Variation and Functional Genomics
  • An improved array mapping environment integrates genomic and cDNA mappings, supporting multi-species databases.
  • We'll link to Genome Wide Association from the NHGRI catalogue (Hindorff et al.)
  • Genotype data for mouse (reference strain C57BL/6) will be included.
  • Update of variation for dog, chicken and platypus.

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