Google Maps meets bacterial genomes

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Sandra Porter

I read about this in Bio-IT World and had to go check it out. It's called the Genome Projector and it has to be the coolest genome browser I've ever seen.

They have 320 bacterial genomes to play with. Naturally, I chose our friend E. coli. The little red pins in the picture below mark the positions of ribosomal RNA genes (It's not perfect, at least one of these genes is a ribosomal RNA methyltransferase and not a 16S ribosomal RNA.)

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I'm not entirely happy about finding it now, after I've already written and posted all the assignments for my class, but still, I'll post a link for my students since it's just so cool and it's kind of a neat way to see all the ribosomal RNA genes in one picture.

If you've ever used Google maps, you instantly know how to use this genome browser. You can use the wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out. (Although, there are few problems with controlling the zooming speed.) You can click a mouse button and drag the image from one side to another. And there's a search function for finding specific genes.

The picture below shows the biochemical pathways in E. coli in the spot light and other pathways greyed out.

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It's very neat.

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And you can see where things map in different ways: within the genome, within a linear map, in a biochemical pathway map, and in something they call a DNA walk map that I don't really understand, but find interesting.

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