The Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org/) project provides a comprehensive and integrated source of annotation of large genome sequences. Over the last year the number of genomes available from the Ensembl site has increased by 7 to 16, with the addition of the six vertebrate genomes of chimpanzee, dog, cow, chicken, tetraodon and frog and the insect genome of honeybee. The majority have been annotated automatically using the Ensembl gene build system, showing its flexibility to reliably annotate a wide variety of genomes. With the increased number of vertebrate genomes, the comparative analysis provided to users has been greatly improved, with new website interfaces allowing annotation of different genomes to be directly compared. The Ensembl software system is being increasingly widely reused in different projects showing the benefits of a completely open approach to software development and distribution.