Next-generation sequencing methods have led to a dramatic increase in the available number of fully sequenced prokaryotic genomes, a trend that is sure to increase into the near future. Standard methods for comparing multiple genomes are classically linear, and focus on individual genes (or, at best, small handfuls of related genes). In contrast, there is much information to be learned from a system level genome comparison. Fortunately, there exist a number of useful metrics for describing genomes, including gene density, GC content, promoter density, and more.
Project Isis a discovery-based software tool that allows researchers to visualize a novel genome sequence relative to a landscape of existing genomes. The core of this tool will be a 3D plot of three metrics, chosen by the user, with a fourth metric plotted as color on the landscape surface. Initially, the Isis core landscape will consist of all sequenced prokaryotic genomes from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the central clearinghouse for genomic data. In addition, users will also be able to import their own dataset to serve as the landscape.
While we will focus on genomic data for this project, we propose to build this tool to allow visualization of any related dataset.