January 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
Strong Points: Amount of information
Weak Points: A bit dry
Quick—What birds have the largest and smallest genome sizes? Interestingly, the ostrich has the largest and the common pheasant has the smallest. Not surprisingly, this valuable information came from the aptly named genomesize.com. Setting out to do one thing and do that one thing well, the Animal Genome Size Database provides the haploid nuclear DNA content of species, and (wow!) they are well along the way of doing that. Over 4,300 genomes were available at press time, including almost 3,000 vertebrates and 1,400 nonvertebrates. Why should anyone care about genome size? As stated on the site, one needs to know genome size to approach sequencing a genome, plus genome size has important implications for evolutionary biology. Access to information is simple with advanced search functions across the entire database and scrollable access via various animal categories. Though the content is a bit dry, the information is welcome.