Over three million sequences from approximately 200 plant species have been deposited in the publicly available plant expressed sequence tag (EST) sequence databases. Many of the ESTs have been sequenced as an alternative to complete genome sequencing or as a substrate for cDNA array-based expression analyses. This creates a formidable resource from both biodiversity and gene-discovery standpoints. Bioinformatics-based sequence analysis tools have extended the scope of EST analysis into the fields of proteomics, marker development and genome annotation. Although EST collections are certainly no substitute for a whole genome scaffold, this "poor man's genome" resource forms the core foundations for various genome-scale experiments within the as yet unsequenceable plant genomes.