The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute provided support for the Distributed Annotation Systems via a range of different projects, websites and applications. This information resource provides an overview of these.
New large scale techniques in biology are producing a rapidly growing amount of public available data. Centralized database resources are confronted with the task how to scale their storage facilities, how to manage frequent updates and how to exchange the data with the community.
The Distributed Annotation System (DAS) addresses these issues. It is frequently being used to openly exchange biological annotations between distributed sites. Data distribution, performed by DAS servers, is separated from visualization, which is done by DAS clients.
DAS is a client-server system in which a client like Ensembl integrates information from multiple servers. It allows a single machine to gather up genome annotation information from multiple distant web sites, collate the information, and display it to the user in a single view. Little coordination is needed among the various information providers.
DAS is heavily used in the genome bioinformatics community. Over the last years we have also seen growing acceptance in the protein sequence and structure communities.