One of the many projects I am involved with looks at Intron-mediated enhancement (IME) of gene expression. Our collaboration with Alan Rose at UC Davis has been a fruitful one, and has led to the development of computational tools that can predict how much an intron might enhance expression.
The initial version of what we called 'the IMEter' was published in 2008 and an improved v2.0 version was published in 2011. The online version of this software only lets you test Arabidopsis introns…not so useful when there are now so many different sequenced plant genomes.
We addressed this limitation in a new — as yet unpublished — v2.1 version which is available online. IMEter v2.1 can now test the expression enhancing ability of introns from 34 different plant species.
The new IMEter is the subject of my poster at the forthcoming UK Genome Sciences meeting in Oxford. The poster, available below via Figshare, explains a little more about how the new version of the IMEter came about. It also discusses some of the problems that arise in trying to adapt a software tool from working with one, very well annotated, genome, to working with many different genomes of varying quality.