This report summarizes the proceedings of the 6th and 7th workshops of the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), held back-to-back in 2008. GSC 6 focused on furthering the activities of GSC working groups, GSC 7 focused on outreach to the wider community. GSC 6 was held October 10-14, 2008 at the European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom and included a two-day workshop focused on the refinement of the Genomic Contextual Data Markup Language (GCDML). GSC 7 was held as the opening day of the International Congress on Metagenomics 2008 in San Diego California. Major achievements of these combined meetings included an agreement from the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Consortium (INSDC) to create a “MIGS” keyword for capturing ”Minimum Information about a Genome Sequence” compliant information within INSDC (DDBJ/EMBL /Genbank) records, launch of GCDML 1.0, MIGS compliance of the first set of “Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea” project genomes, approval of a proposal to extend MIGS to 16S rRNA sequences within a “Minimum Information about an Environmental Sequence”, finalization of plans for the GSC eJournal, “Standards in Genomic Sciences” (SIGS), and the formation of a GSC Board. Subsequently, the GSC has been awarded a Research Co-ordination Network (RCN4GSC) grant from the National Science Foundation, held the first SIGS workshop and launched the journal. The GSC will also be hosting outreach workshops at both ISMB 2009 and PSB 2010 focused on “Metagenomics, Metadata and MetaAnalysis” (M3). Further information about the GSC and its range of activities can be found at http://gensc.org, including videos of all the presentations at GSC 7.
In any sequencing project, the possible depth of comparative analysis is determined largely by the amount and quality of the accompanying contextual data. The structure, content, and storage of this contextual data should be standardized to ensure consistent coverage of all sequenced entities and facilitate comparisons. The Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) has developed the “Minimum Information about Genome/Metagenome Sequences (MIGS/MIMS)” checklist for the description of genomes and here we annotate all 30 publicly available marine bacteriophage sequences to the MIGS standard. These annotations build on existing International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) records, and confirm, as expected that current submissions lack most MIGS fields. MIGS fields were manually curated from the literature and placed in XML format as specified by the Genomic Contextual Data Markup Language (GCDML). These “machine-readable” reports were then analyzed to highlight patterns describing this collection of genomes. Completed reports are provided in GCDML. This work represents one step towards the annotation of our complete collection of genome sequences and shows the utility of capturing richer metadata along with raw sequences.
marine phages; contextual data; genome standards; markup language
State of the art (DNA) sequencing methods applied in “Omics” studies grant insight into the ‘blueprints’ of organisms from all domains of life. Sequencing is carried out around the globe and the data is submitted to the public repositories of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration. However, the context in which these studies are conducted often gets lost, because experimental data, as well as information about the environment are rarely submitted along with the sequence data. If these contextual or metadata are missing, key opportunities of comparison and analysis across studies and habitats are hampered or even impossible. To address this problem, the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) promotes checklists and standards to better describe our sequence data collection and to promote the capturing, exchange and integration of sequence data with contextual data. In a recent community effort the GSC has developed a series of recommendations for contextual data that should be submitted along with sequence data. To support the scientific community to significantly enhance the quality and quantity of contextual data in the public sequence data repositories, specialized software tools are needed. In this work we present CDinFusion, a web-based tool to integrate contextual and sequence data in (Multi)FASTA format prior to submission. The tool is open source and available under the Lesser GNU Public License 3. A public installation is hosted and maintained at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology at http://www.megx.net/cdinfusion. The tool may also be installed locally using the open source code available at http://code.google.com/p/cdinfusion.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the 10th workshop of the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), held at Argonne National Laboratory, IL, USA. It was the second GSC workshop to have open registration and attracted over 60 participants who worked together to progress the full range of projects ongoing within the GSC. Overall, the primary focus of the workshop was on advancing the M5 platform for next-generation collaborative computational infrastructures. Other key outcomes included the formation of a GSC working group focused on MIGS/MIMS/MIENS compliance using the ISA software suite and the formal launch of the GSC Developer Working Group. Further information about the GSC and its range of activities can be found at http://gensc.org/.
Here we present a standard developed by the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) for reporting marker gene sequences—the minimum information about a marker gene sequence (MIMARKS). We also introduce a system for describing the environment from which a biological sample originates. The ‘environmental packages’ apply to any genome sequence of known origin and can be used in combination with MIMARKS and other GSC checklists. Finally, to establish a unified standard for describing sequence data and to provide a single point of entry for the scientific community to access and learn about GSC checklists, we present the minimum information about any (x) sequence (MIxS). Adoption of MIxS will enhance our ability to analyze natural genetic diversity documented by massive DNA sequencing efforts from myriad ecosystems in our ever-changing biosphere.
Through a newly established Research Coordination Network for the Genomic Standards Consortium (RCN4GSC), the GSC will continue its leadership in establishing and integrating genomic standards through community-based efforts. These efforts, undertaken in the context of genomic and metagenomic research aim to ensure the electronic capture of all genomic data and to facilitate the achievement of a community consensus around collecting and managing relevant contextual information connected to the sequence data. The GSC operates as an open, inclusive organization, welcoming inspired biologists with a commitment to community service. Within the collaborative framework of the ongoing, international activities of the GSC, the RCN will expand the range of research domains engaged in these standardization efforts and sustain scientific networking to encourage active participation by the broader community. The RCN4GSC, funded for five years by the US National Science Foundation, will primarily support outcome-focused working meetings and the exchange of early-career scientists between GSC research groups in order to advance key standards contributions such as GCDML. Focusing on the timely delivery of the extant GSC core projects, the RCN will also extend the pioneering efforts of the GSC to engage researchers active in developing ecological, environmental and biodiversity data standards. As the initial goals of the GSC are increasingly achieved, promoting the comprehensive use of effective standards will be essential to ensure the effective use of sequence and associated data, to provide access for all biologists to all of the information, and to create interdisciplinary opportunities for discovery. The RCN will facilitate these implementation activities through participation in major scientific conferences and presentations on scientific advances enabled by community usage of genomic standards.
This meeting report summarizes the proceedings of the “eGenomics: Cataloguing our Complete Genome Collection III” workshop held September 11–13, 2006, at the National Institute for Environmental eScience (NIEeS), Cambridge, United Kingdom. This 3rd workshop of the Genomic Standards Consortium was divided into two parts. The first half of the three-day workshop was dedicated to reviewing the genomic diversity of our current and future genome and metagenome collection, and exploring linkages to a series of existing projects through formal presentations. The second half was dedicated to strategic discussions. Outcomes of the workshop include a revised “Minimum Information about a Genome Sequence” (MIGS) specification (v1.1), consensus on a variety of features to be added to the Genome Catalogue (GCat), agreement by several researchers to adopt MIGS for imminent genome publications, and an agreement by the EBI and NCBI to input their genome collections into GCat for the purpose of quantifying the amount of optional data already available (e.g., for geographic location coordinates) and working towards a single, global list of all public genomes and metagenomes.
The Genomes On Line Database (GOLD) is a comprehensive resource for centralized monitoring of genome and metagenome projects worldwide. Both complete and ongoing projects, along with their associated metadata, can be accessed in GOLD through precomputed tables and a search page. As of September 2009, GOLD contains information for more than 5800 sequencing projects, of which 1100 have been completed and their sequence data deposited in a public repository. GOLD continues to expand, moving toward the goal of providing the most comprehensive repository of metadata information related to the projects and their organisms/environments in accordance with the Minimum Information about a (Meta)Genome Sequence (MIGS/MIMS) specification. GOLD is available at: http://www.genomesonline.org and has a mirror site at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Crete, Greece, at: http://gold.imbb.forth.gr/
This report summarizes the proceedings of the 8th meeting of the Genomic Standards Consortium held at the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA, USA on September 9-11, 2009. This three-day workshop marked the maturing of Genomic Standards Consortium from an informal gathering of researchers interested in developing standards in the field of genomic and metagenomics to an established community with a defined governance mechanism, its own open access journal, and a family of established standards for describing genomes, metagenomes and marker studies (i.e. ribosomal RNA gene surveys). There will be increased efforts within the GSC to reach out to the wider scientific community via a range of new projects. Further information about the GSC and its activities can be found at http://gensc.org/.
A vast and rich body of information has grown up as a result of the world's enthusiasm for 'omics technologies. Finding ways to describe and make available this information that maximise its usefulness has become a major effort across the 'omics world. At the heart of this effort is the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), an open-membership organization that drives community-based standardization activities, Here we provide a short history of the GSC, provide an overview of its range of current activities, and make a call for the scientific community to join forces to improve the quality and quantity of contextual information about our public collections of genomes, metagenomes, and marker gene sequences.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the “Metagenomics, Metadata and Meta-analysis” (M3) Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting held at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology 2009 conference. The Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) hosted this meeting to explore the bottlenecks and emerging solutions for obtaining biological insights through large-scale comparative analysis of metagenomic datasets. The M3 SIG included 16 talks, half of which were selected from submitted abstracts, a poster session and a panel discussion involving members of the GSC Board. This report summarizes this one-day SIG, attempts to identify shared themes and recapitulates community recommendations for the future of this field. The GSC will also host an M3 workshop at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) in January 2010. Further information about the GSC and its range of activities can be found at http://gensc.org/.
The Genomes On Line Database (GOLD) is a comprehensive resource that provides information on genome and metagenome projects worldwide. Complete and ongoing projects and their associated metadata can be accessed in GOLD through pre-computed lists and a search page. As of September 2007, GOLD contains information on more than 2900 sequencing projects, out of which 639 have been completed and their sequence data deposited in the public databases. GOLD continues to expand with the goal of providing metadata information related to the projects and the organisms/environments towards the Minimum Information about a Genome Sequence’ (MIGS) guideline. GOLD is available at http://www.genomesonline.org and has a mirror site at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Crete, Greece at http://gold.imbb.forth.gr/
The Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis (CAMERA, http://camera.calit2.net/) is a database and associated computational infrastructure that provides a single system for depositing, locating, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data about microbial biology through an advanced web-based analysis portal. CAMERA collects and links metadata relevant to environmental metagenome data sets with annotation in a semantically-aware environment allowing users to write expressive semantic queries against the database. To meet the needs of the research community, users are able to query metadata categories such as habitat, sample type, time, location and other environmental physicochemical parameters. CAMERA is compliant with the standards promulgated by the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), and sustains a role within the GSC in extending standards for content and format of the metagenomic data and metadata and its submission to the CAMERA repository. To ensure wide, ready access to data and annotation, CAMERA also provides data submission tools to allow researchers to share and forward data to other metagenomics sites and community data archives such as GenBank. It has multiple interfaces for easy submission of large or complex data sets, and supports pre-registration of samples for sequencing. CAMERA integrates a growing list of tools and viewers for querying, analyzing, annotating and comparing metagenome and genome data.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the first day of the Metagenomics, Metadata and MetaAnalysis (M3) workshop held at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology 2010 conference. The second day, which was dedicated to the inaugural meeting of the BioSharing initiative is presented in a separate report. The Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) hosted the first day of this Special Interest Group (SIG) at ISMB to continue exploring the bottlenecks and emerging solutions for obtaining biological insights through large-scale comparative analysis of metagenomic datasets. The M3 SIG included invited and selected talks and a panel discussion at the end of the day involving the plenary speakers. Further information about the GSC and its range of activities can be found at http://gensc.org. Information about the newly established BioSharing effort can be found at http://biosharing.org/.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the Metagenomics, Metadata, Metaanalysis, Models and Metainfrastructure (M5) Roundtable at the 13th International Society for Microbial Ecology Meeting in Seattle, WA, USA August 22-27, 2010. The Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) hosted this meeting as a community engagement exercise to describe the GSC to the microbial ecology community during this important international meeting. The roundtable included five talks given by members of the GSC, and was followed by audience participation in the form of a roundtable discussion. This report summarizes this event. Further information on the GSC and its range of activities can be found at http://www.gensc.org.
At the GSC11 meeting (4-6 April 2011, Hinxton, England, the GSC’s genomic biodiversity working group (GBWG) developed an initial model for a data management testbed at the interface of biodiversity with genomics and metagenomics. With representatives of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) participating, it was agreed that the most useful course of action would be for GBIF to collaborate with the GSC in its ongoing GBWG workshops to achieve common goals around interoperability/data integration across (meta)-genomic and species level data. It was determined that a quick comparison should be made of the contents of the Darwin Core (DwC) and the GSC data checklists, with a goal of determining their degree of overlap and compatibility. An ad-hoc task group lead by Renzo Kottman and Peter Dawyndt undertook an initial comparison between the Darwin Core (DwC) standard used by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the MIxS checklists put forward by the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC). A term-by-term comparison showed that DwC and GSC concepts complement each other far more than they compete with each other. Because the preliminary analysis done at this meeting was based on expertise with GSC standards, but not with DwC standards, the group recommended that a joint meeting of DwC and GSC experts be convened as soon as possible to continue this joint assessment and to propose additional work going forward.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the 9th workshop of the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), held at the J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD, USA. It was the first GSC workshop to have open registration and attracted over 90 participants. This workshop featured sessions that provided overviews of the full range of ongoing GSC projects. It included sessions on Standards in Genomic Sciences, the open access journal of the GSC, building standards for genome annotation, the M5 platform for next-generation collaborative computational infrastructures, building ties with the biodiversity research community and two discussion panels with government and industry participants. Progress was made on all fronts, and major outcomes included the completion of the MIENS specification for publication and the formation of the Biodiversity working group.
Megx.net is a database and portal that provides integrated access to georeferenced marker genes, environment data and marine genome and metagenome projects for microbial ecological genomics. All data are stored in the Microbial Ecological Genomics DataBase (MegDB), which is subdivided to hold both sequence and habitat data and global environmental data layers. The extended system provides access to several hundreds of genomes and metagenomes from prokaryotes and phages, as well as over a million small and large subunit ribosomal RNA sequences. With the refined Genes Mapserver, all data can be interactively visualized on a world map and statistics describing environmental parameters can be calculated. Sequence entries have been curated to comply with the proposed minimal standards for genomes and metagenomes (MIGS/MIMS) of the Genomic Standards Consortium. Access to data is facilitated by Web Services. The updated megx.net portal offers microbial ecologists greatly enhanced database content, and new features and tools for data analysis, all of which are freely accessible from our webpage http://www.megx.net.
Flow cytometry is a widely used analytical technique for examining microscopic particles, such as cells. The Flow Cytometry Standard (FCS) was developed in 1984 for storing flow data and it is supported by all instrument and third party software vendors. However, FCS does not capture the full scope of flow cytometry (FCM)-related data and metadata, and data standards have recently been developed to address this shortcoming.
The Data Standards Task Force (DSTF) of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC) has developed several data standards to complement the raw data encoded in FCS files. Efforts started with the Minimum Information about a Flow Cytometry Experiment, a minimal data reporting standard of details necessary to include when publishing FCM experiments to facilitate third party understanding. MIFlowCyt is now being recommended to authors by publishers as part of manuscript submission, and manuscripts are being checked by reviewers and editors for compliance. Gating-ML was then introduced to capture gating descriptions - an essential part of FCM data analysis describing the selection of cell populations of interest. The Classification Results File Format was developed to accommodate results of the gating process, mostly within the context of automated clustering. Additionally, the Archival Cytometry Standard bundles data with all the other components describing experiments. Here, we introduce these recent standards and provide the very first example of how they can be used to report FCM data including analysis and results in a standardized, computationally exchangeable form.
Reporting standards and open file formats are essential for scientific collaboration and independent validation. The recently developed FCM data standards are now being incorporated into third party software tools and data repositories, which will ultimately facilitate understanding and data reuse.
The Human Proteome Organisation’s Proteomics Standards Initiative (HUPO-PSI) has developed the GelML data exchange format for representing gel electrophoresis experiments performed in proteomics investigations. The format closely follows the reporting guidelines for gel electrophoresis, which are part of the Minimum Information About a Proteomics Experiment (MIAPE) set of modules. GelML supports the capture of metadata (such as experimental protocols) and data (such as gel images) resulting from gel electrophoresis so that laboratories can be compliant with the MIAPE Gel Electrophoresis guidelines, while allowing such data sets to be exchanged or downloaded from public repositories. The format is sufficiently flexible to capture data from a broad range of experimental processes, and complements other PSI formats for mass spectrometry data and the results of protein and peptide identifications to capture entire gel-based proteome workflows. GelML has resulted from the open standardisation process of PSI consisting of both public consultation and anonymous review of the specifications.
data standard; gel electrophoresis; database; ontology
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility and the Genomic Standards Consortium convened a joint workshop at the University of Oxford, 27-29 February 2012, with a small group of experts from Europe, USA, China and Japan, to continue the alignment of the Darwin Core with the MIxS and related genomics standards. Several reference mappings were produced as well as test expressions of MIxS in RDF. The use and management of controlled vocabulary terms was considered in relation to both GBIF and the GSC, and tools for working with terms were reviewed. Extensions for publishing genomic biodiversity data to the GBIF network via a Darwin Core Archive were prototyped and work begun on preparing translations of the Darwin Core to Japanese and Chinese. Five genomic repositories were identified for engagement to begin the process of testing the publishing of genomic data to the GBIF network commencing with the SILVA rRNA database.
Today’s biological experiments often involve the collaboration of multidisciplinary researchers utilising several high throughput ‘omics platforms. There is a requirement for the details of the experiment to be adequately described using standardised ontologies to enable data preservation, the analysis of the data and to facilitate the export of the data to public repositories. However there are a bewildering number of ontologies, controlled vocabularies, and minimum standards available for use to describe experiments. There is a need for user-friendly software tools to aid laboratory scientists in capturing the experimental information.
A web application called XperimentR has been developed for use by laboratory scientists, consisting of a browser-based interface and server-side components which provide an intuitive platform for capturing and sharing experimental metadata. Information recorded includes details about the biological samples, procedures, protocols, and experimental technologies, all of which can be easily annotated using the appropriate ontologies. Files and raw data can be imported and associated with the biological samples via the interface, from either users’ computers, or commonly used open-source data repositories. Experiments can be shared with other users, and experiments can be exported in the standard ISA-Tab format for deposition in public databases. XperimentR is freely available and can be installed natively or by using a provided pre-configured Virtual Machine. A guest system is also available for trial purposes.
We present a web based software application to aid the laboratory scientist to capture, describe and share details about their experiments.
Experimental annotation; Ontologies; Biological data management
Background and motivation
The high-throughput genomics communities have been successfully using standardized spreadsheet-based formats to capture and share data within labs and among public repositories. The nanomedicine community has yet to adopt similar standards to share the diverse and multi-dimensional types of data (including metadata) pertaining to the description and characterization of nanomaterials. Owing to the lack of standardization in representing and sharing nanomaterial data, most of the data currently shared via publications and data resources are incomplete, poorly-integrated, and not suitable for meaningful interpretation and re-use of the data. Specifically, in its current state, data cannot be effectively utilized for the development of predictive models that will inform the rational design of nanomaterials.
We have developed a specification called ISA-TAB-Nano, which comprises four spreadsheet-based file formats for representing and integrating various types of nanomaterial data. Three file formats (Investigation, Study, and Assay files) have been adapted from the established ISA-TAB specification; while the Material file format was developed de novo to more readily describe the complexity of nanomaterials and associated small molecules. In this paper, we have discussed the main features of each file format and how to use them for sharing nanomaterial descriptions and assay metadata.
The ISA-TAB-Nano file formats provide a general and flexible framework to record and integrate nanomaterial descriptions, assay data (metadata and endpoint measurements) and protocol information. Like ISA-TAB, ISA-TAB-Nano supports the use of ontology terms to promote standardized descriptions and to facilitate search and integration of the data. The ISA-TAB-Nano specification has been submitted as an ASTM work item to obtain community feedback and to provide a nanotechnology data-sharing standard for public development and adoption.
The Genomes OnLine Database (GOLD, http://www.genomesonline.org/) is a comprehensive resource for centralized monitoring of genome and metagenome projects worldwide. Both complete and ongoing projects, along with their associated metadata, can be accessed in GOLD through precomputed tables and a search page. As of September 2011, GOLD, now on version 4.0, contains information for 11 472 sequencing projects, of which 2907 have been completed and their sequence data has been deposited in a public repository. Out of these complete projects, 1918 are finished and 989 are permanent drafts. Moreover, GOLD contains information for 340 metagenome studies associated with 1927 metagenome samples. GOLD continues to expand, moving toward the goal of providing the most comprehensive repository of metadata information related to the projects and their organisms/environments in accordance with the Minimum Information about any (x) Sequence specification and beyond.
The cost of a diploid human genome sequence has dropped from about $70M to $2000 since 2007- even as the standards for redundancy have increased from 7x to 40x in order to improve call rates. Coupled with the low return on investment for common single-nucleotide polymorphisms, this has caused a significant rise in interest in correlating genome sequences with comprehensive environmental and trait data (GET). The cost of electronic health records, imaging, and microbial, immunological, and behavioral data are also dropping quickly. Sharing such integrated GET datasets and their interpretations with a diversity of researchers and research subjects highlights the need for informed-consent models capable of addressing novel privacy and other issues, as well as for flexible data-sharing resources that make materials and data available with minimum restrictions on use. This article examines the Personal Genome Project's effort to develop a GET database as a public genomics resource broadly accessible to both researchers and research participants, while pursuing the highest standards in research ethics.
Personal Genome Project; personal genomics; DNA sequencing technology; whole-genome sequencing; phenome; envirome; microbiome; GET data set; open consent; public genome; ELSI