HomeInternational Rice Research Notesvol. 31 no. 1 (2006)

Bioinformatics and crop information systems in rice research

Richard Bruskiewich | Thomas Metz | Graham McLaren

Discipline: Biology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Computing Science



The triple revolution in biotechnology, computing science, and communication technology has stimulated informatics applications in rice research. This review specifically covers the impact of biology-focused informatics ("bioinformatics") in rice research on the discovery of genotype-phenotype relationships for priority traits, using diverse data sources.

Bioinformatics is a scientific discipline lying at the intersection of biology, mathematics, computing science, and information technology. Bioinformatics can be discussed within the following frameworks:

• Applications: What kind of research questions can be answered using bioinformatics?

• Databases: What data sources and applicable semantic standards (ontology1) are pertinent to answering these research questions?

• Protocols, algorithms, and tools: What analysis protocols, computing algorithms, and software tools can be applied to answer these research questions?

• Infrastructure: What hardware, software, and networking systems are required to support the above?

This review will focus primarily on germplasm-based crop research, although many of the same tools can be applied to current problems in soil microbiology, entomology, and other areas of crop research. Also, some of the design principles of bioinformatics information systems will be useful for other research fields, such as geographic and agronomic information systems.