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ITSoneDB, the 1st reference database aimed at ITS1-based metagenomic surveys

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ITSoneDB, the 1st reference database aimed at ITS1-based metagenomic surveys

The increasing amount of worldwide environmental sequencing initiatives are enabling an unprecedented discovery of new microorganisms and biological functions, of their interactions, adaptation mechanisms and role in driving global ecological cycles. Only in recent times the metagenomic approach, used in these studies, has been aimed at the intriguing and still largely unknown eukaryotic communities. They embrace Fungi, characterized by ubiquity, high diversity and often cryptic manifestations, together with other organisms, including plants, algae, protists and animals. Many lines of evidence have suggested the great potential of ITS1 sub-region of the Internal Transcribed Spacer of rRNA gene cluster as universal molecular marker able to discriminate among Eukaryotes.

Comprehensive and quality-controlled databases of reference data provided with unambiguous taxonomies and robust analysis tools are mandatory to obtain unbiased and accurate inferences of the taxonomic complexity of eukaryiotic communities. As part of our contribution to address this issue, we developed ITSoneDB (http://itsonedb.cloud.ba.infn.it), focusing on the whole eukaryotic domain and establishing the first and unique curated reference database aimed at ITS1-based metagenomic surveys. This resource is available in the framework of the virtual research environment of Biomolecular Thematic Centre (CTB) of LifeWatch. ITSoneDB has been developed as a complementary effort with our on-going contribution in the establishment of reliable tools and data resources for Metagenomics in the ELIXIR EXCELERATE H2020 Project. A number of actions has been already undertaken in order to ensure that ITSoneDB data follow the FAIR data principles. This will safeguard their utility and value for the users community for a long time after their production.

More on ITSoneDB will be available on NAR database issue (Santamaria, Fosso et al., in press).

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