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1.  FTSPlot: Fast Time Series Visualization for Large Datasets 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94694.
The analysis of electrophysiological recordings often involves visual inspection of time series data to locate specific experiment epochs, mask artifacts, and verify the results of signal processing steps, such as filtering or spike detection. Long-term experiments with continuous data acquisition generate large amounts of data. Rapid browsing through these massive datasets poses a challenge to conventional data plotting software because the plotting time increases proportionately to the increase in the volume of data. This paper presents FTSPlot, which is a visualization concept for large-scale time series datasets using techniques from the field of high performance computer graphics, such as hierarchic level of detail and out-of-core data handling. In a preprocessing step, time series data, event, and interval annotations are converted into an optimized data format, which then permits fast, interactive visualization. The preprocessing step has a computational complexity of ; the visualization itself can be done with a complexity of and is therefore independent of the amount of data. A demonstration prototype has been implemented and benchmarks show that the technology is capable of displaying large amounts of time series data, event, and interval annotations lag-free with ms. The current 64-bit implementation theoretically supports datasets with up to bytes, on the x86_64 architecture currently up to bytes are supported, and benchmarks have been conducted with bytes/1 TiB or double precision samples. The presented software is freely available and can be included as a Qt GUI component in future software projects, providing a standard visualization method for long-term electrophysiological experiments.
PMCID: PMC3986407  PMID: 24732865
2.  BioHackathon series in 2011 and 2012: penetration of ontology and linked data in life science domains 
Katayama, Toshiaki | Wilkinson, Mark D | Aoki-Kinoshita, Kiyoko F | Kawashima, Shuichi | Yamamoto, Yasunori | Yamaguchi, Atsuko | Okamoto, Shinobu | Kawano, Shin | Kim, Jin-Dong | Wang, Yue | Wu, Hongyan | Kano, Yoshinobu | Ono, Hiromasa | Bono, Hidemasa | Kocbek, Simon | Aerts, Jan | Akune, Yukie | Antezana, Erick | Arakawa, Kazuharu | Aranda, Bruno | Baran, Joachim | Bolleman, Jerven | Bonnal, Raoul JP | Buttigieg, Pier Luigi | Campbell, Matthew P | Chen, Yi-an | Chiba, Hirokazu | Cock, Peter JA | Cohen, K Bretonnel | Constantin, Alexandru | Duck, Geraint | Dumontier, Michel | Fujisawa, Takatomo | Fujiwara, Toyofumi | Goto, Naohisa | Hoehndorf, Robert | Igarashi, Yoshinobu | Itaya, Hidetoshi | Ito, Maori | Iwasaki, Wataru | Kalaš, Matúš | Katoda, Takeo | Kim, Taehong | Kokubu, Anna | Komiyama, Yusuke | Kotera, Masaaki | Laibe, Camille | Lapp, Hilmar | Lütteke, Thomas | Marshall, M Scott | Mori, Takaaki | Mori, Hiroshi | Morita, Mizuki | Murakami, Katsuhiko | Nakao, Mitsuteru | Narimatsu, Hisashi | Nishide, Hiroyo | Nishimura, Yosuke | Nystrom-Persson, Johan | Ogishima, Soichi | Okamura, Yasunobu | Okuda, Shujiro | Oshita, Kazuki | Packer, Nicki H | Prins, Pjotr | Ranzinger, Rene | Rocca-Serra, Philippe | Sansone, Susanna | Sawaki, Hiromichi | Shin, Sung-Ho | Splendiani, Andrea | Strozzi, Francesco | Tadaka, Shu | Toukach, Philip | Uchiyama, Ikuo | Umezaki, Masahito | Vos, Rutger | Whetzel, Patricia L | Yamada, Issaku | Yamasaki, Chisato | Yamashita, Riu | York, William S | Zmasek, Christian M | Kawamoto, Shoko | Takagi, Toshihisa
The application of semantic technologies to the integration of biological data and the interoperability of bioinformatics analysis and visualization tools has been the common theme of a series of annual BioHackathons hosted in Japan for the past five years. Here we provide a review of the activities and outcomes from the BioHackathons held in 2011 in Kyoto and 2012 in Toyama. In order to efficiently implement semantic technologies in the life sciences, participants formed various sub-groups and worked on the following topics: Resource Description Framework (RDF) models for specific domains, text mining of the literature, ontology development, essential metadata for biological databases, platforms to enable efficient Semantic Web technology development and interoperability, and the development of applications for Semantic Web data. In this review, we briefly introduce the themes covered by these sub-groups. The observations made, conclusions drawn, and software development projects that emerged from these activities are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3978116  PMID: 24495517
BioHackathon; Bioinformatics; Semantic Web; Web services; Ontology; Visualization; Knowledge representation; Databases; Semantic interoperability; Data models; Data sharing; Data integration
3.  Knowledge and Theme Discovery across Very Large Biological Data Sets Using Distributed Queries: A Prototype Combining Unstructured and Structured Data 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80503.
As the discipline of biomedical science continues to apply new technologies capable of producing unprecedented volumes of noisy and complex biological data, it has become evident that available methods for deriving meaningful information from such data are simply not keeping pace. In order to achieve useful results, researchers require methods that consolidate, store and query combinations of structured and unstructured data sets efficiently and effectively. As we move towards personalized medicine, the need to combine unstructured data, such as medical literature, with large amounts of highly structured and high-throughput data such as human variation or expression data from very large cohorts, is especially urgent. For our study, we investigated a likely biomedical query using the Hadoop framework. We ran queries using native MapReduce tools we developed as well as other open source and proprietary tools. Our results suggest that the available technologies within the Big Data domain can reduce the time and effort needed to utilize and apply distributed queries over large datasets in practical clinical applications in the life sciences domain. The methodologies and technologies discussed in this paper set the stage for a more detailed evaluation that investigates how various data structures and data models are best mapped to the proper computational framework.
PMCID: PMC3846626  PMID: 24312478
4.  Genome-Wide Discovery and Information Resource Development of DNA Polymorphisms in Cassava 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74056.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is an important crop that provides food security and income generation in many tropical countries, and is known for its adaptability to various environmental conditions. Its draft genome sequence and many expressed sequence tags are now publicly available, allowing the development of cassava polymorphism information. Here, we describe the genome-wide discovery of cassava DNA polymorphisms. Using the alignment of predicted transcribed sequences from the cassava draft genome sequence and ESTs from GenBank, we discovered 10,546 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and 647 insertions and deletions. To facilitate molecular marker development for cassava, we designed 9,316 PCR primer pairs to amplify the genomic region around each DNA polymorphism. Of the discovered SNPs, 62.7% occurred in protein-coding regions. Disease-resistance genes were found to have a significantly higher ratio of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitutions. We identified 24 read-through (changes of a stop codon to a coding codon) and 38 premature stop (changes of a coding codon to a stop codon) single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and found that the 5 gene ontology terms in biological process were significantly different in genes with read-through single-nucleotide polymorphisms compared with all cassava genes. All data on the discovered DNA polymorphisms were organized into the Cassava Online Archive database, which is available at
PMCID: PMC3770675  PMID: 24040164
5.  Unraveling genomic variation from next generation sequencing data 
BioData Mining  2013;6:13.
Elucidating the content of a DNA sequence is critical to deeper understand and decode the genetic information for any biological system. As next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques have become cheaper and more advanced in throughput over time, great innovations and breakthrough conclusions have been generated in various biological areas. Few of these areas, which get shaped by the new technological advances, involve evolution of species, microbial mapping, population genetics, genome-wide association studies (GWAs), comparative genomics, variant analysis, gene expression, gene regulation, epigenetics and personalized medicine. While NGS techniques stand as key players in modern biological research, the analysis and the interpretation of the vast amount of data that gets produced is a not an easy or a trivial task and still remains a great challenge in the field of bioinformatics. Therefore, efficient tools to cope with information overload, tackle the high complexity and provide meaningful visualizations to make the knowledge extraction easier are essential. In this article, we briefly refer to the sequencing methodologies and the available equipment to serve these analyses and we describe the data formats of the files which get produced by them. We conclude with a thorough review of tools developed to efficiently store, analyze and visualize such data with emphasis in structural variation analysis and comparative genomics. We finally comment on their functionality, strengths and weaknesses and we discuss how future applications could further develop in this field.
PMCID: PMC3726446  PMID: 23885890
SNPs; SNVs; CNV; Structural variation; Sequencing; Genome browser; Visualization; Polymorphisms; Genome wide association studies
6.  Pipit: visualizing functional impacts of structural variations 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(17):2206-2207.
Summary: Pipit is a gene-centric interactive visualization tool designed to study structural genomic variations. Through focusing on individual genes as the functional unit, researchers are able to study and generate hypotheses on the biological impact of different structural variations, for instance, the deletion of dosage-sensitive genes or the formation of fusion genes. Pipit is a cross-platform Java application that visualizes structural variation data from Genome Variation Format files.
Availability: Executables, source code, sample data, documentation and screencast are available at
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3740631  PMID: 23803468
7.  TrioVis: a visualization approach for filtering genomic variants of parent–child trios 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(14):1801-1802.
Summary: TrioVis is a visual analytics tool developed for filtering on coverage and variant frequency for genomic variants from exome sequencing of parent–child trios. In TrioVis, the variant data are organized by grouping each variant based on the laws of Mendelian inheritance. Taking three Variant Call Format files as input, TrioVis allows the user to test different coverage thresholds (i.e. different levels of stringency), to find the optimal threshold values tailored to their hypotheses and to gain insights into the global effects of filtering through interaction.
Availability: Executables, source code and sample data are available at Screencast is available at
PMCID: PMC3702247  PMID: 23658417
8.  Meander: visually exploring the structural variome using space-filling curves 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(11):e118.
The introduction of next generation sequencing methods in genome studies has made it possible to shift research from a gene-centric approach to a genome wide view. Although methods and tools to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms are becoming more mature, methods to identify and visualize structural variation (SV) are still in their infancy. Most genome browsers can only compare a given sequence to a reference genome; therefore, direct comparison of multiple individuals still remains a challenge. Therefore, the implementation of efficient approaches to explore and visualize SVs and directly compare two or more individuals is desirable. In this article, we present a visualization approach that uses space-filling Hilbert curves to explore SVs based on both read-depth and pair-end information. An interactive open-source Java application, called Meander, implements the proposed methodology, and its functionality is demonstrated using two cases. With Meander, users can explore variations at different levels of resolution and simultaneously compare up to four different individuals against a common reference. The application was developed using Java version 1.6 and and can be run on any platform. It can be found at
PMCID: PMC3675473  PMID: 23605045
9.  Revising a Personal Genome by Comparing and Combining Data from Two Different Sequencing Platforms 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60585.
For the robust practice of genomic medicine, sequencing results must be compatible, regardless of the sequencing technologies and algorithms used. Presently, genome sequencing is still an imprecise science and is complicated by differences in the chemistry, coverage, alignment, and variant-calling algorithms. We identified ∼3.33 million single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and ∼3.62 million SNVs in the SJK genome using SOLiD and Illumina data, respectively. Approximately 3 million SNVs were concordant between the two platforms while 68,532 SNVs were discordant; 219,616 SNVs were SOLiD-specific and 516,080 SNVs were Illumina-specific (i.e., platform-specific). Concordant, discordant, and platform-specific SNVs were further analyzed and characterized. Overall, a large portion of heterozygous SNVs that were discordant with genotyping calls of single nucleotide polymorphism chips were highly confident. Approximately 70% of the platform-specific SNVs were located in regions containing repetitive sequences. Such platform-specificity may arise from differences between platforms, with regard to read length (36 bp and 72 bp vs. 50 bp), insert size (∼100–300 bp vs. ∼1–2 kb), sequencing chemistry (sequencing-by-synthesis using single nucleotides vs. ligation-based sequencing using oligomers), and sequencing quality. When data from the two platforms were merged for variant calling, the proportion of callable regions of the reference genome increased to 99.66%, which was 1.43% higher than the average callability of the two platforms, representing ∼40 million bases. In this study, we compared the differences in sequencing results between two sequencing platforms. Approximately 90% of the SNVs were concordant between the two platforms, yet ∼10% of the SNVs were either discordant or platform-specific, indicating that each platform had its own strengths and weaknesses. When data from the two platforms were merged, both the overall callability of the reference genome and the overall accuracy of the SNVs improved, demonstrating the likelihood that a re-sequenced genome can be revised using complementary data.
PMCID: PMC3620462  PMID: 23593254
10.  SLAF-seq: An Efficient Method of Large-Scale De Novo SNP Discovery and Genotyping Using High-Throughput Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58700.
Large-scale genotyping plays an important role in genetic association studies. It has provided new opportunities for gene discovery, especially when combined with high-throughput sequencing technologies. Here, we report an efficient solution for large-scale genotyping. We call it specific-locus amplified fragment sequencing (SLAF-seq). SLAF-seq technology has several distinguishing characteristics: i) deep sequencing to ensure genotyping accuracy; ii) reduced representation strategy to reduce sequencing costs; iii) pre-designed reduced representation scheme to optimize marker efficiency; and iv) double barcode system for large populations. In this study, we tested the efficiency of SLAF-seq on rice and soybean data. Both sets of results showed strong consistency between predicted and practical SLAFs and considerable genotyping accuracy. We also report the highest density genetic map yet created for any organism without a reference genome sequence, common carp in this case, using SLAF-seq data. We detected 50,530 high-quality SLAFs with 13,291 SNPs genotyped in 211 individual carp. The genetic map contained 5,885 markers with 0.68 cM intervals on average. A comparative genomics study between common carp genetic map and zebrafish genome sequence map showed high-quality SLAF-seq genotyping results. SLAF-seq provides a high-resolution strategy for large-scale genotyping and can be generally applicable to various species and populations.
PMCID: PMC3602454  PMID: 23527008
11.  The 3rd DBCLS BioHackathon: improving life science data integration with Semantic Web technologies 
BioHackathon 2010 was the third in a series of meetings hosted by the Database Center for Life Sciences (DBCLS) in Tokyo, Japan. The overall goal of the BioHackathon series is to improve the quality and accessibility of life science research data on the Web by bringing together representatives from public databases, analytical tool providers, and cyber-infrastructure researchers to jointly tackle important challenges in the area of in silico biological research.
The theme of BioHackathon 2010 was the 'Semantic Web', and all attendees gathered with the shared goal of producing Semantic Web data from their respective resources, and/or consuming or interacting those data using their tools and interfaces. We discussed on topics including guidelines for designing semantic data and interoperability of resources. We consequently developed tools and clients for analysis and visualization.
We provide a meeting report from BioHackathon 2010, in which we describe the discussions, decisions, and breakthroughs made as we moved towards compliance with Semantic Web technologies - from source provider, through middleware, to the end-consumer.
PMCID: PMC3598643  PMID: 23398680
BioHackathon; Open source; Software; Semantic Web; Databases; Data integration; Data visualization; Web services; Interfaces
12.  Long Span DNA Paired-End-Tag (DNA-PET) Sequencing Strategy for the Interrogation of Genomic Structural Mutations and Fusion-Point-Guided Reconstruction of Amplicons 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46152.
Structural variations (SVs) contribute significantly to the variability of the human genome and extensive genomic rearrangements are a hallmark of cancer. While genomic DNA paired-end-tag (DNA-PET) sequencing is an attractive approach to identify genomic SVs, the current application of PET sequencing with short insert size DNA can be insufficient for the comprehensive mapping of SVs in low complexity and repeat-rich genomic regions. We employed a recently developed procedure to generate PET sequencing data using large DNA inserts of 10–20 kb and compared their characteristics with short insert (1 kb) libraries for their ability to identify SVs. Our results suggest that although short insert libraries bear an advantage in identifying small deletions, they do not provide significantly better breakpoint resolution. In contrast, large inserts are superior to short inserts in providing higher physical genome coverage for the same sequencing cost and achieve greater sensitivity, in practice, for the identification of several classes of SVs, such as copy number neutral and complex events. Furthermore, our results confirm that large insert libraries allow for the identification of SVs within repetitive sequences, which cannot be spanned by short inserts. This provides a key advantage in studying rearrangements in cancer, and we show how it can be used in a fusion-point-guided-concatenation algorithm to study focally amplified regions in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3461012  PMID: 23029419
13.  Annotate-it: a Swiss-knife approach to annotation, analysis and interpretation of single nucleotide variation in human disease 
Genome Medicine  2012;4(9):73.
The increasing size and complexity of exome/genome sequencing data requires new tools for clinical geneticists to discover disease-causing variants. Bottlenecks in identifying the causative variation include poor cross-sample querying, constantly changing functional annotation and not considering existing knowledge concerning the phenotype. We describe a methodology that facilitates exploration of patient sequencing data towards identification of causal variants under different genetic hypotheses. Annotate-it facilitates handling, analysis and interpretation of high-throughput single nucleotide variant data. We demonstrate our strategy using three case studies. Annotate-it is freely available and test data are accessible to all users at
PMCID: PMC3580443  PMID: 23013645
14.  The Ruby UCSC API: accessing the UCSC genome database using Ruby 
BMC Bioinformatics  2012;13:240.
The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) genome database is among the most used sources of genomic annotation in human and other organisms. The database offers an excellent web-based graphical user interface (the UCSC genome browser) and several means for programmatic queries. A simple application programming interface (API) in a scripting language aimed at the biologist was however not yet available. Here, we present the Ruby UCSC API, a library to access the UCSC genome database using Ruby.
The API is designed as a BioRuby plug-in and built on the ActiveRecord 3 framework for the object-relational mapping, making writing SQL statements unnecessary. The current version of the API supports databases of all organisms in the UCSC genome database including human, mammals, vertebrates, deuterostomes, insects, nematodes, and yeast.
The API uses the bin index—if available—when querying for genomic intervals. The API also supports genomic sequence queries using locally downloaded *.2bit files that are not stored in the official MySQL database. The API is implemented in pure Ruby and is therefore available in different environments and with different Ruby interpreters (including JRuby).
Assisted by the straightforward object-oriented design of Ruby and ActiveRecord, the Ruby UCSC API will facilitate biologists to query the UCSC genome database programmatically. The API is available through the RubyGem system. Source code and documentation are available at under the Ruby license. Feedback and help is provided via the website at
PMCID: PMC3542311  PMID: 22994508
15.  Improving Indel Detection Specificity of the Ion Torrent PGM Benchtop Sequencer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45798.
The emergence of benchtop sequencers has made clinical genetic testing using next-generation sequencing more feasible. Ion Torrent's PGMTM is one such benchtop sequencer that shows clinical promise in detecting single nucleotide variations (SNVs) and microindel variations (indels). However, the large number of false positive indels caused by the high frequency of homopolymer sequencing errors has impeded PGMTM's usage for clinical genetic testing. An extensive analysis of PGMTM data from the sequencing reads of the well-characterized genome of the Escherichia coli DH10B strain and sequences of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes from six germline samples was done. Three commonly used variant detection tools, SAMtools, Dindel, and GATK's Unified Genotyper, all had substantial false positive rates for indels. By incorporating filters on two major measures we could dramatically improve false positive rates without sacrificing sensitivity. The two measures were: B-Allele Frequency (BAF) and VARiation of the Width of gaps and inserts (VARW) per indel position. A BAF threshold applied to indels detected by UnifiedGenotyper removed ∼99% of the indel errors detected in both the DH10B and BRCA sequences. The optimum BAF threshold for BRCA sequences was determined by requiring 100% detection sensitivity and minimum false discovery rate, using variants detected from Sanger sequencing as reference. This resulted in 15 indel errors remaining, of which 7 indel errors were removed by selecting a VARW threshold of zero. VARW specific errors increased in frequency with higher read depth in the BRCA datasets, suggesting that homopolymer-associated indel errors cannot be reduced by increasing the depth of coverage. Thus, using a VARW threshold is likely to be important in reducing indel errors from data with higher coverage. In conclusion, BAF and VARW thresholds provide simple and effective filtering criteria that can improve the specificity of indel detection in PGMTM data without compromising sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3446914  PMID: 23029247
16.  CEP152 is a genome maintenance protein disrupted in Seckel syndrome 
Nature genetics  2010;43(1):23-26.
Functional impairment of DNA damage response pathways leads to increased genomic instability. Here we describe the centrosomal protein CEP152 as a new regulator of genomic integrity and cellular response to DNA damage. Using homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we identified CEP152 mutations in Seckel syndrome and showed that impaired CEP152 function leads to accumulation of genomic defects resulting from replicative stress through enhanced activation of ATM signaling and increased H2AX phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC3430850  PMID: 21131973
17.  Signature of a Pre-Human Population Decline in the Critically Endangered Reunion Island Endemic Forest Bird Coracina newtoni 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43524.
The exceptional biodiversity of Reunion Island is threatened by anthropogenic landscape changes that took place during the 350 years of human colonization. During this period the human population size increased dramatically from 250 to 800,000. The arrival of humans together with the development of agriculture, invasive species such as rats and cats, and deforestation has lead to the extinction of more than half of the original vertebrate species of the island. For the remaining species, significant work is being carried out to identify threats and conservation status, but little genetic work has been carried on some of the most endangered species. In the last decade theoretical studies have shown the ability of neutral genetic markers to infer the demographic history of endangered species and identify and date past population size changes (expansions or bottlenecks). In this study we provide the first genetic data on the critically endangered species the Reunion cuckoo-shrike Coracina newtoni. The Reunion cuckoo-shrike is a rare endemic forest bird surviving in a restricted 12-km2 area of forested uplands and mountains. The total known population consists of less than one hundred individuals out of which 45 were genotyped using seventeen polymorphic microsatellite loci. We found a limited level of genetic variability and weak population structure, probably due to the limited geographic distribution. Using Bayesian methods, we identified a strong decline in population size during the Holocene, most likely caused by an ancient climatic or volcanic event around 5000 years ago. This result was surprising as it appeared in apparent contradiction with the accepted theory of recent population collapse due to deforestation and predator introduction. These results suggest that new methods allowing for more complex demographic models are necessary to reconstruct the demographic history of populations.
PMCID: PMC3423348  PMID: 22916272
18.  Complete Sequences of the Mitochondrial DNA of the Wild Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis and Two Mutagenic Cultivated Breeds (Gracilariaceae, Rhodophyta) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40241.
The complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis was sequenced (25883 bp) and mapped to a circular model. The A+T composition was 72.5%. Forty six genes and two potentially functional open reading frames were identified. They include 24 protein-coding genes, 2 rRNA genes, 20 tRNA genes and 2 ORFs (orf60, orf142). There is considerable sequence synteny across the five red algal mtDNAs falling into Florideophyceae including Gr. lemaneiformis in this study and previously sequenced species. A long stem-loop and a hairpin structure were identified in intergenic regions of mt genome of Gr. lemaneiformis, which are believed to be involved with transcription and replication. In addition, the mtDNAs of two mutagenic cultivated breeds (“981” and “07-2”) were also sequenced. Compared with the mtDNA of wild Gr. lemaneiformis, the genome size and gene length and order of three strains were completely identical except nine base mutations including eight in the protein-coding genes and one in the tRNA gene. None of the base mutations caused frameshift or a premature stop codon in the mtDNA genes. Phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial protein-coding genes and rRNA genes demonstrated Gracilariopsis andersonii had closer phylogenetic relationship with its parasite Gracilariophila oryzoides than Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis which was from the same genus of Gracilariopsis.
PMCID: PMC3386957  PMID: 22768261
19.  SR4GN: A Species Recognition Software Tool for Gene Normalization 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38460.
As suggested in recent studies, species recognition and disambiguation is one of the most critical and challenging steps in many downstream text-mining applications such as the gene normalization task and protein-protein interaction extraction. We report SR4GN: an open source tool for species recognition and disambiguation in biomedical text. In addition to the species detection function in existing tools, SR4GN is optimized for the Gene Normalization task. As such it is developed to link detected species with corresponding gene mentions in a document. SR4GN achieves 85.42% in accuracy and compares favorably to the other state-of-the-art techniques in benchmark experiments. Finally, SR4GN is implemented as a standalone software tool, thus making it convenient and robust for use in many text-mining applications. SR4GN can be downloaded at:
PMCID: PMC3367953  PMID: 22679507
21.  Exome Sequencing and Genetic Testing for MODY 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38050.
Genetic testing for monogenic diabetes is important for patient care. Given the extensive genetic and clinical heterogeneity of diabetes, exome sequencing might provide additional diagnostic potential when standard Sanger sequencing-based diagnostics is inconclusive.
The aim of the study was to examine the performance of exome sequencing for a molecular diagnosis of MODY in patients who have undergone conventional diagnostic sequencing of candidate genes with negative results.
Research Design and Methods
We performed exome enrichment followed by high-throughput sequencing in nine patients with suspected MODY. They were Sanger sequencing-negative for mutations in the HNF1A, HNF4A, GCK, HNF1B and INS genes. We excluded common, non-coding and synonymous gene variants, and performed in-depth analysis on filtered sequence variants in a pre-defined set of 111 genes implicated in glucose metabolism.
On average, we obtained 45 X median coverage of the entire targeted exome and found 199 rare coding variants per individual. We identified 0–4 rare non-synonymous and nonsense variants per individual in our a priori list of 111 candidate genes. Three of the variants were considered pathogenic (in ABCC8, HNF4A and PPARG, respectively), thus exome sequencing led to a genetic diagnosis in at least three of the nine patients. Approximately 91% of known heterozygous SNPs in the target exomes were detected, but we also found low coverage in some key diabetes genes using our current exome sequencing approach. Novel variants in the genes ARAP1, GLIS3, MADD, NOTCH2 and WFS1 need further investigation to reveal their possible role in diabetes.
Our results demonstrate that exome sequencing can improve molecular diagnostics of MODY when used as a complement to Sanger sequencing. However, improvements will be needed, especially concerning coverage, before the full potential of exome sequencing can be realized.
PMCID: PMC3360646  PMID: 22662265
22.  An eQTL biological data visualization challenge and approaches from the visualization community 
BMC Bioinformatics  2012;13(Suppl 8):S8.
In 2011, the IEEE VisWeek conferences inaugurated a symposium on Biological Data Visualization. Like other domain-oriented Vis symposia, this symposium's purpose was to explore the unique characteristics and requirements of visualization within the domain, and to enhance both the Visualization and Bio/Life-Sciences communities by pushing Biological data sets and domain understanding into the Visualization community, and well-informed Visualization solutions back to the Biological community. Amongst several other activities, the BioVis symposium created a data analysis and visualization contest. Unlike many contests in other venues, where the purpose is primarily to allow entrants to demonstrate tour-de-force programming skills on sample problems with known solutions, the BioVis contest was intended to whet the participants' appetites for a tremendously challenging biological domain, and simultaneously produce viable tools for a biological grand challenge domain with no extant solutions. For this purpose expression Quantitative Trait Locus (eQTL) data analysis was selected. In the BioVis 2011 contest, we provided contestants with a synthetic eQTL data set containing real biological variation, as well as a spiked-in gene expression interaction network influenced by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) DNA variation and a hypothetical disease model. Contestants were asked to elucidate the pattern of SNPs and interactions that predicted an individual's disease state. 9 teams competed in the contest using a mixture of methods, some analytical and others through visual exploratory methods. Independent panels of visualization and biological experts judged entries. Awards were given for each panel's favorite entry, and an overall best entry agreed upon by both panels. Three special mention awards were given for particularly innovative and useful aspects of those entries. And further recognition was given to entries that correctly answered a bonus question about how a proposed "gene therapy" change to a SNP might change an individual's disease status, which served as a calibration for each approaches' applicability to a typical domain question. In the future, BioVis will continue the data analysis and visualization contest, maintaining the philosophy of providing new challenging questions in open-ended and dramatically underserved Bio/Life Sciences domains.
PMCID: PMC3355334  PMID: 22607587
23.  Integration of Two Diploid Potato Linkage Maps with the Potato Genome Sequence 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36347.
To facilitate genome-guided breeding in potato, we developed an 8303 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) marker array using potato genome and transcriptome resources. To validate the Infinium 8303 Potato Array, we developed linkage maps from two diploid populations (DRH and D84) and compared these maps with the assembled potato genome sequence. Both populations used the doubled monoploid reference genotype DM1-3 516 R44 as the female parent but had different heterozygous diploid male parents (RH89-039-16 and 84SD22). Over 4,400 markers were mapped (1,960 in DRH and 2,454 in D84, 787 in common) resulting in map sizes of 965 (DRH) and 792 (D84) cM, covering 87% (DRH) and 88% (D84) of genome sequence length. Of the mapped markers, 33.5% were in candidate genes selected for the array, 4.5% were markers from existing genetic maps, and 61% were selected based on distribution across the genome. Markers with distorted segregation ratios occurred in blocks in both linkage maps, accounting for 4% (DRH) and 9% (D84) of mapped markers. Markers with distorted segregation ratios were unique to each population with blocks on chromosomes 9 and 12 in DRH and 3, 4, 6 and 8 in D84. Chromosome assignment of markers based on linkage mapping differed from sequence alignment with the Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium (PGSC) pseudomolecules for 1% of the mapped markers with some disconcordant markers attributable to paralogs. In total, 126 (DRH) and 226 (D84) mapped markers were not anchored to the pseudomolecules and provide new scaffold anchoring data to improve the potato genome assembly. The high degree of concordance between the linkage maps and the pseudomolecules demonstrates both the quality of the potato genome sequence and the functionality of the Infinium 8303 Potato Array. The broad genome coverage of the Infinium 8303 Potato Array compared to other marker sets will enable numerous downstream applications.
PMCID: PMC3338666  PMID: 22558443
24.  Origins and functional impact of copy number variation in the human genome 
Nature  2009;464(7289):704-712.
Structural variations of DNA greater than 1 kilobase in size account for most bases that vary among human genomes, but are still relatively under-ascertained. Here we use tiling oligonucleotide microarrays, comprising 42 million probes, to generate a comprehensive map of 11,700 copy number variations (CNVs) greater than 443 base pairs, of which most (8,599) have been validated independently. For 4,978 of these CNVs, we generated reference genotypes from 450 individuals of European, African or East Asian ancestry. The predominant mutational mechanisms differ among CNV size classes. Retrotransposition has duplicated and inserted some coding and non-coding DNA segments randomly around the genome. Furthermore, by correlation with known trait-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we identified 30 loci with CNVs that are candidates for influencing disease susceptibility. Despite this, having assessed the completeness of our map and the patterns of linkage disequilibrium between CNVs and SNPs, we conclude that, for complex traits, the heritability void left by genome-wide association studies will not be accounted for by common CNVs.
PMCID: PMC3330748  PMID: 19812545
25.  Arena3D: visualizing time-driven phenotypic differences in biological systems 
BMC Bioinformatics  2012;13:45.
Elucidating the genotype-phenotype connection is one of the big challenges of modern molecular biology. To fully understand this connection, it is necessary to consider the underlying networks and the time factor. In this context of data deluge and heterogeneous information, visualization plays an essential role in interpreting complex and dynamic topologies. Thus, software that is able to bring the network, phenotypic and temporal information together is needed. Arena3D has been previously introduced as a tool that facilitates link discovery between processes. It uses a layered display to separate different levels of information while emphasizing the connections between them. We present novel developments of the tool for the visualization and analysis of dynamic genotype-phenotype landscapes.
Version 2.0 introduces novel features that allow handling time course data in a phenotypic context. Gene expression levels or other measures can be loaded and visualized at different time points and phenotypic comparison is facilitated through clustering and correlation display or highlighting of impacting changes through time. Similarity scoring allows the identification of global patterns in dynamic heterogeneous data. In this paper we demonstrate the utility of the tool on two distinct biological problems of different scales. First, we analyze a medium scale dataset that looks at perturbation effects of the pluripotency regulator Nanog in murine embryonic stem cells. Dynamic cluster analysis suggests alternative indirect links between Nanog and other proteins in the core stem cell network. Moreover, recurrent correlations from the epigenetic to the translational level are identified. Second, we investigate a large scale dataset consisting of genome-wide knockdown screens for human genes essential in the mitotic process. Here, a potential new role for the gene lsm14a in cytokinesis is suggested. We also show how phenotypic patterning allows for extensive comparison and identification of high impact knockdown targets.
We present a new visualization approach for perturbation screens with multiple phenotypic outcomes. The novel functionality implemented in Arena3D enables effective understanding and comparison of temporal patterns within morphological layers, to help with the system-wide analysis of dynamic processes. Arena3D is available free of charge for academics as a downloadable standalone application from:
PMCID: PMC3368716  PMID: 22439608

Results 1-25 (42)