RCN: Phenotype Ontology Research Coordination Network

  • Dahdul, Wasila W. (PI)
  • Lewis, Suzanna S.E. (CoPI)
  • Huala, Eva E.L. (CoPI)
  • Mabee, Paula P.M. (CoPI)
  • Deans, Andrew Robert (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Knowledge of how an organism looks, behaves and functions, i.e., its 'phenotype', is central to interpreting the interaction of underlying genes and environmental effects. Representing phenotype in a way that can be linked to thousands of molecular genetic and environmental databases, however, remains difficult. The goal of this project is to establish a network of experts on plant and animal phenotypes and on computer representation methods (ontologies) from communities that are independently developing ways to represent and share phenotypic data. Through this Research Coordination Network, scientists will be brought together and their activities coordinated to: (1) develop standards and best practices for accurate phenotype representations; (2) build key reference ontologies for plants, vertebrates, and arthropods; and (3) cross reference these ontologies so that key data can be easily shared and accessed.

Coordinating scientific efforts so that effective linkages are built into databases from the outset is an efficient and economical mechanism to develop a data network. Plants and animals show complex integration across genes, phenotype and environment, and a network of these data will enable rapid scientific discovery and progress. This project also will reach out to scientists who can use the data, help them link to it, and educate their communities about these computational methods and their utility.

Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/16


  • National Science Foundation: $498,652.00


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