cROP: Common Reference Ontologies and Applications for Plant Biology

Dennis Stevenson and collaborators

Plant researchers must be able to quickly search for genetic information from a wide range of online databases. Unfortunately, the researchers who originally provided the data and those who are analyzing it often use inconsistent terminology, making keyword searches less effective. To remedy this problem, the project will develop common gene annotation standards and a universal vocabulary of plant biology and diseases. It will also draw up standards and workflows for the creation and curation of such terminology. Additionally, it will develop a web portal and data warehouse to host this shared vocabulary and related annotation information to enable access by the broader plant community.

This project will create a centralized platform where reference ontologies for plants will be used to access cutting-edge data resources for analyzing plant traits, phenotypes, diseases, genomes, genetic diversity and gene expression data across a wide range of plant species. It will empower researchers to build hypotheses and discover, query, and analyze plant genomics data to address complex questions that would not otherwise be tractable. Ultimately, plant breeders can use this information to develop higher-yielding, more nutritious crops that tolerate stress and resist disease. As an educational component, the project team will reach out to K-12 and undergraduate students and the plant research community. Through this project, the scientific community will be able to contribute genetic annotation data to the warehouse via a collaborative web site that will also provide multiple ways to analyze and download data and other resources.

More information: The Plant Ontology

The Ontology project will develop common gene annotation standards and a universal vocabulary of plant biology and diseases.