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BACKGROUND: Despite several recent advances in the automated generation of draft metabolic reconstructions, the manual curation of these networks to produce high quality genome-scale metabolic models remains a labour-intensive and challenging task.
RESULTS: We present PathwayBooster, an open-source software tool to support the manual comparison and curation of metabolic models. It combines gene annotations from GenBank files and other sources with information retrieved from the metabolic databases BRENDA and KEGG to produce a set of pathway diagrams and reports summarising the evidence for the presence of a reaction in a given organism's metabolic network. By comparing multiple sources of evidence within a common framework, PathwayBooster assists the curator in the identification of likely false positive (misannotated enzyme) and false negative (pathway hole) reactions. Reaction evidence may be taken from alternative annotations of the same genome and/or a set of closely related organisms.
CONCLUSIONS: By integrating and visualising evidence from multiple sources, PathwayBooster reduces the manual effort required in the curation of a metabolic model. The software is available online at http://www.theosysbio.bio.ic.ac.uk/resources/pathwaybooster/ .