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New publication: Finding our way through phenotypes

Phenotypes

Three members of the taxonbytes lab (Sal Anzaldo, Nico Franz, and former postdoc Aaron Smith) are co-authors of a new paper published in PLoS Biology: Finding Our Way through Phenotypes. Lead authors (in a large community effort) are Andrew Deans, Paula Mabee, and members of the Phenotype Research Coordination Network.

Deans, A.R. et al. (73 co-authors, including S.S. Anzaldo, N.M. Franz & A.D. Smith). 2015. Finding our way through phenotypes. PLoS Biol 13(1): e1002033. Link to publication

Abstract. Despite a large and multifaceted effort to understand the vast landscape of phenotypic data, their current form inhibits productive data analysis. The lack of a community-wide, consensus-based, human- and machine-interpretable language for describing phenotypes and their genomic and environmental contexts is perhaps the most pressing scientific bottleneck to integration across many key fields in biology, including genomics, systems biology, development, medicine, evolution, ecology, and systematics. Here we survey the current phenomics landscape, including data resources and handling, and the progress that has been made to accurately capture relevant data descriptions for phenotypes. We present an example of the kind of integration across domains that computable phenotypes would enable, and we call upon the broader biology community, publishers, and relevant funding agencies to support efforts to surmount today’s data barriers and facilitate analytical reproducibility.

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