Although the list of completed genome sequencing projects has expanded rapidly, sequencing and analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) remain a primary tool for discovery of novel genes in many eukaryotes and a key element in genome annotation. The TIGR Gene Indices (http://www.tigr.org/tdb/tgi) are a collection of 77 species-specific databases that use a highly refined protocol to analyze gene and EST sequences in an attempt to identify and characterize expressed transcripts and to present them on the Web in a user-friendly, consistent fashion. A Gene Index database is constructed for each selected organism by first clustering, then assembling EST and annotated cDNA and gene sequences from GenBank. This process produces a set of unique, high-fidelity virtual transcripts, or tentative consensus (TC) sequences. The TC sequences can be used to provide putative genes with functional annotation, to link the transcripts to genetic and physical maps, to provide links to orthologous and paralogous genes, and as a resource for comparative and functional genomic analysis.