User-friendly Nordic ITS Ectomycorrhiza Database

UNITE is a rDNA sequence database designed to provide a stable and reliable platform for sequence-borne identification of ectomycorrhizal asco- and basidiomycetes. It has many of the characteristics of other sequence databases, but one of the things that sets UNITE apart from these is sequence reliability. We aim at including only high-quality sequences of well identified fungi, hence initially sacrifying quantity for quality. The sequences are primarily generated from fruiting-bodies collected and identified by specialists; the fruiting-bodies are deposited in public herbaria and type specimens are used whenever possible. Sequences generated from cultures and from soil- or root samples are however also accepted to enable ecological surveys and comparisons. The database initially holds sequences from the ITS region. This highly variable locus has proved a valuable information source when it comes to species identification. We aim to cover more loci in the future.

UNITE is designed to hold more information pertaining to each record than most other databases. This includes information on herbarium, geographical location, morphological description of mycelia and fruiting-body (with illustrations / photos), ecology, taxonomy, and nomenclature - in other words information that is vital to the interpretation of the results.

UNITE is equipped with a BLAST interface for rapid similarity searches against the records of the database. We have also developed more thorough, phylogeny-based analysis tools for identification of less well matched records. It is possible to query the database by taxonomy.

UNITE is a relational database based on a MySQL Red Hat Linux platform running the Apache httpd web server. It is accessed through a web interface written in PHP and Perl. We'd be happy to discuss technical details with anyone interested (Kessy, Henrik, Urmas).

Back to main