ASGARD: an open-access database of annotated transcriptomes for emerging model arthropod species

Database (Oxford). 2012 Nov 23;2012:bas048. doi: 10.1093/database/bas048. Print 2012.


The increased throughput and decreased cost of next-generation sequencing (NGS) have shifted the bottleneck genomic research from sequencing to annotation, analysis and accessibility. This is particularly challenging for research communities working on organisms that lack the basic infrastructure of a sequenced genome, or an efficient way to utilize whatever sequence data may be available. Here we present a new database, the Assembled Searchable Giant Arthropod Read Database (ASGARD). This database is a repository and search engine for transcriptomic data from arthropods that are of high interest to multiple research communities but currently lack sequenced genomes. We demonstrate the functionality and utility of ASGARD using de novo assembled transcriptomes from the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus, the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus and the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis. We have annotated these transcriptomes to assign putative orthology, coding region determination, protein domain identification and Gene Ontology (GO) term annotation to all possible assembly products. ASGARD allows users to search all assemblies by orthology annotation, GO term annotation or Basic Local Alignment Search Tool. User-friendly features of ASGARD include search term auto-completion suggestions based on database content, the ability to download assembly product sequences in FASTA format, direct links to NCBI data for predicted orthologs and graphical representation of the location of protein domains and matches to similar sequences from the NCBI non-redundant database. ASGARD will be a useful repository for transcriptome data from future NGS studies on these and other emerging model arthropods, regardless of sequencing platform, assembly or annotation status. This database thus provides easy, one-stop access to multi-species annotated transcriptome information. We anticipate that this database will be useful for members of multiple research communities, including developmental biology, physiology, evolutionary biology, ecology, comparative genomics and phylogenomics. Database URL:

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Animals
  • Arthropods / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Genes
  • Models, Animal
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation / methods*
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • User-Computer Interface