A researcher at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech is developing a database and computational tools to help scientists learn more about how certain genes in tomatoes affect the crops flavor and nutritional value.
The Tomato Metabolite Database, which is being implemented by Zhangjun Fei, a senior bioinformatics scientist in VBIs Cyberinfrastructure Group, will be used to store a wide range of information and data about tomato, including microarray and metabolite profiling data as well as information on metabolic pathways. This resource will be used to identify key genes involved in the synthesis of essential metabolites that impact tomato flavor and the quality of its nutrients.
Feis work is part of a collaboration with Harry Klee, professor of horticultural science at the University of Florida and principal investigator for the project, and Jim Giovannoni, adjunct professor of plant biology at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University and research molecular biologist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory. The work is funded by a $2-million grant from the National Science Foundation.
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