DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btae073 ISSN: 1367-4811

PanEffect: a pan-genome visualization tool for variant effects in maize

Carson M Andorf, Olivia C Haley, Rita K Hayford, John L Portwood, Stephen Harding, Shatabdi Sen, Ethalinda K Cannon, Jack M Gardiner, Hye-Seon Kim, Margaret R Woodhouse
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics and Probability


Understanding the effects of genetic variants is crucial for accurately predicting traits and functional outcomes. Recent approaches have utilized artificial intelligence and protein language models to score all possible missense variant effects at the proteome level for a single genome, but a reliable tool is needed to explore these effects at the pan-genome level. To address this gap, we introduce a new tool called PanEffect. We implemented PanEffect at MaizeGDB to enable a comprehensive examination of the potential effects of coding variants across 50 maize genomes. The tool allows users to visualize over 550 million possible amino acid substitutions in the B73 maize reference genome and to observe the effects of the 2.3 million natural variations in the maize pan-genome. Each variant effect score, calculated from the Evolutionary Scale Modeling (ESM) protein language model, shows the log-likelihood ratio difference between B73 and all variants in the pan-genome. These scores are shown using heatmaps spanning benign outcomes to potential functional consequences. Additionally, PanEffect displays secondary structures and functional domains along with the variant effects, offering additional functional and structural context. Using PanEffect, researchers now have a platform to explore protein variants and identify genetic targets for crop enhancement.


The PanEffect code is freely available on GitHub ( A maize implementation of PanEffect and underlying datasets are available at MaizeGDB (

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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