Plant protein-coding gene families: emerging bioinformatics approaches
Protein-coding gene families are sets of similar genes with a shared evolutionary origin and, generally, with similar biological functions. In plants, the size and role of gene families has been only partially addressed. However, suitable bioinformatics tools are being developed to cluster the enormous number of sequences currently available in databases. Specifically, comparative genomic databases promise to become powerful tools for gene family annotation in plant clades. In this review, I evaluate the data retrieved from various gene family databases, the ease with which they can be extracted and how useful the extracted information is.