The Bio-Analytic Resource for Plant Biology is thrilled to have been designated as a Global Core Biodata Resource by the Global Biodata Coalition.

The Bio-Analytic Resource (BAR) at encompasses and provides visualization tools for large ‘omics data sets from plants. The BAR covers data from Arabidopsis, Medicago truncatula, rice, wheat, barley and 27 other plant species (with data for 3 others to be released soon).

These data include nucleotide and protein sequence data, gene expression data, protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions, protein structures, subcellular localizations, and polymorphisms. The data are stored in more than 200 relational databases holding 186 GB of data and are presented to the user via web apps.

These web apps provide data analysis and visualization tools that are hosted on the BAR. Some of the most popular tools are eFP (“electronic fluorescent pictograph”) Browsers, ePlants, and ThaleMine (an Arabidopsis-specific instance of InterMine). The BAR receives about 4 million page views a month by plant researchers worldwide.

The BAR is maintained and operated by the Provart Lab at the University of Toronto. Nicholas Provart is a professor of Plant Cyberinfrastructure and Systems Biology and is chair of the Department of Cell & Systems Biology at the University of Toronto. He has published 128 papers/book chapters/patents and been cited 18,395 times, with an H-index of 53 as calculated by Google Scholar. The BAR’s bioinformatician is Asher Pasha, and undergraduate student support is provided by Vincent Lau.

The Provart Lab has worked collaboratively with researchers around the world to develop the 157 “electronic fluorescent pictograph” views for visualizing expression data in our collection of eFP Browsers and ePlants. The effort is substantial, so much so that we are co-authors on 43 of the 60 papers that are considered BAR publications. These 60 BAR papers have collectively been cited 11,011 times since the BAR went online in 2003.

Several international resources link to the BAR and also serve up BAR expression pictographs (“eFP images”), such as TAIR, SoyBase, and MaizeGDB. In terms of experiential learning, 79 undergraduate students – mostly from the University of Toronto – have undertaken undergraduate research projects in the Provart Lab that have supported the BAR, either through tool building, data set analysis, or algorithm development. Twenty-five of these are co-authors on BAR publications, along with a further 25 trainees from the Provart Lab.

In the past 5 years, continued operation of the BAR has been ensured by grants from Genome Canada/Ontario Genomics (OGI-162) and NSERC. This funding has been supplemented by pedagogy grants and a research stipend from the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto to Nicholas Provart for his role as departmental chair.

The staff at the BAR note: “We also very much appreciate all the cool data sets from researchers around the world to which we have been able to facilitate access!”