Persephone featured in Bio-IT World

Persephone featured in Bio-IT World

00:18 25 April in General News


Persephone, the Real-Time Genome Browser

By Aaron Krol

Syngenta, one of the world’s largest crop engineering companies, was not in the market for a new genome browser. In 2008, Syngenta, like many companies, was using the open source program GBrowse, which is substantially similar to most commercial platforms. GBrowse has an intuitive interface for displaying genes and chromosomes, and all the basic tools, like BLAST, that users need to run in genome browsers. It didn’t seem like a particular pain point for research.

But then a group of Syngenta scientists did a site visit to Ceres, a smaller bioengineering company that specializes in creating crop strains for use as biofuels. There, they were introduced to an in-house browser called Persephone. “They were looking at something completely different,” says Eric Ganko, a computational biologist at Syngenta. “But they happened to see this software, and they were quite interested in how fast you were able to look at a whole chromosome view.”