In November 2016, the entire URGI bioinformatics team was awarded an IWGSC Outstanding Leadership Award in recognition and appreciation of their efforts in making IWGSC resources available to the wheat community.
The “ Unité de Recherche Génomique Info ” (URGI) of the French National Institute of Agronomical Research Institute (INRA) is a research unit in genomics and bioinformatics dedicated to plants and crop parasites. The URGI unit hosts a bioinformatics platform that supports French research activity on plants of agronomic interest and undertakes its own research on data integration, as well as genome structure and dynamics.
Since 2008, URGI has hosted data produced by the IWGSC members contributing to the production of a high quality reference sequence for the hexaploid Chinese Spring bread wheat. These resources include: physical maps built from flow-sorted chromosome BAC libraries, Whole Genome Profile (WGP)TM tag sequences from minimal tile path BACs identified from the physical maps, and the chromosome survey sequences (CSS) that formed the basis for the publication of the first genome-wide resource allocating gene sequences to individual chromosomes. The repository also stores the whole genome assemblies that have been built and refined during 2016 and provides a site for the community to download, browse and BLAST all of the IWGSC data. These sites have proved popular with the community. In 2015, the sequence repository received more than 27,000 hits and more than 90,000 BLAST searches were performed.
Some URGI bioinformaticians work specifically on wheat, developing and maintain tools and databases such as the IWGSC Sequence Repository to facilitate the research of the wheat community.
Thanks to all the URGI team and especially Michael Alaux (leader), Thomas Letellier (genome browsers and data warehouse development), Françoise Alfama (BLAST tool development and helpdesk), Claire Guerche (accounts management and system administration), Mikael Loaec (infrastructure and system administration), Raphael Flores (integration of IWGSC data in the WheatIS tools), Mathilde Lainé (data integration), Véronique Jamilloux (webmaster), Anne-Françoise Adam-Blondon and Hadi Quesneville (unit management).