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This Week in Nucleic Acids Research: May 13, 2015

A tool called PhyloGene is showing promise as a means of using normalized phylogenetic data to track down conserved or co-evolved genes in the genomes of different species or to predict the functions of uncharacterized genes. The method measures sequence similarities — adjusted based on evolutionary distance between species — as a means of assessing sequence divergence between organisms from different phylogenetic branches, report researchers from the US and Israel. That group used PhyloGene to assess proteins from 86 eukaryotes, including animal, plant, fungi, and protists.

For another Nucleic Acids Research study, a group from Korea provides information on a Drosophila-focused network server called FlyNet. The resource represents not only fruit fly genes and their functions, but also offers the opportunity to bring this data together using different network algorithms and gene prioritization modules, the researchers say. For instance, they note that FlyNet "can prioritize Drosophila genes for human diseases with an option for the integration of human genetic evidence, such as genome-wide association studies and de novo mutation screens."

Researchers from Spain and the UK describe the latest version of a tool called Babelomics, which is designed to bring together RNA sequence data with data from genome or exome sequences. The team noted that this fifth release of the integrative, web-based platform has a new visualization features and interface, paired with improved approaches for tackling different technology types and analytical methods. Finally, the study's authors added, "One of the most distinctive features of Babelomics, the functional analysis of genomic data, is nowadays a critical aspect in data analysis."