June 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 12)
Strong Points: Large database, nice sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees
Weak Points: Very brief annotations
So which came first, the chicken or the egg…nog? While this enigma may continue to plague humanity, at least there are a number of evolution-related questions that are more answerable. For instance, how have ancestral genes evolved in different species? What do these orthologous genes look like? Enter eggNOG (evolutionary genealogy of genes: Non-supervised Orthologous Groups), which is a database of orthologous groups of genes. Just how many groups, you ask? The database contains a whopping 224,847 groups that cover 630 species. One can either search by gene name or enter up to 30 protein sequences to retrieve the query results. These results include a phylogenetic tree showing the evolution of the protein of interest, as well as brief annotations for the orthologous genes. Also, as a website dedicated to the relationships between genes, the sequence alignment and tree-viewing options are a nice touch.