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NSF Funds Development of Common Reference Ontologies and Applications for Plant Biology

​The NSF’s Plant Genome Research Program recently awarded funding  to The Planteome Project (http://www.planteome.org) to support the development of ‘Common Reference Ontologies and Applications for Plant Biology’ for a three year period. The human population relies on a relatively small number of plant-based food sources for its basic nutritional needs. Rapid population growth and climate uncertainty is driving a critical requirement to produce higher crop yields and nutrient-rich crops that can tolerate or resist environmental stressors such temperature, drought, and diseases. Traditional breeding methods for plant improvement may be combined with next-generation methods such as high-throughput sequencing, genomics and automated scoring of traits and phenotypes to develop improved varieties. In order to achieve bioinformatics and data-driven crop improvement, plant researchers must be able to quickly gather pieces of the puzzle from a wide range of genomic and genetic studies, build hypotheses and perform the relevant experiments. However, although the existing studies are useful, they may come with some inconsistencies, as the researchers who originally provided the data, and those who are analyzing it often use inconsistent terminology and annotation, making keyword searches less effective. To remedy this problem, the Planteome Project will develop a set of common standards which will include universal reference vocabularies with images where relevant to describe data relating to plant biology and plant stresses and standardized plant gene and phenotype annotation workflows. Additionally, the project team, which includes international collaborators, will develop a centralized web portal and data warehouse to host the shared vocabularies, images, and related annotation information. As a result of this project, researchers in all areas of plant science will be able to find common reference points for comparative analysis of genomics and genetics data.

Read more at http://www.newswire.com/press-release/nsf-funds-development-of-common-reference-ontologies-and