Searching and mining visually observed phenotypes of maize mutants

Chi Ren Shyu, Jaturon Harnsomburana, Jason Green, Adrian S. Barb, Toni Kazic, Mary Schaeffer, Ed Coe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There are thousands of maize mutants, which are invaluable resources for plant research. Geneticists use them to study underlying mechanisms of biochemistry, cell biology, cell development, and cell physiology. To streamline the understanding of such complex processes, researchers need the most current versions of genetic and physical maps, tools with the ability to recognize novel phenotypes or classify known phenotypes, and an intimate knowledge of the biochemical processes generating physiological and phenotypic effects. They must also know how all of these factors change and differ among species, diverse alleles, germplasms, and environmental conditions. While there are robust databases, such as MaizeGDB, for some of these types of raw data, other crucial components are missing. Moreover, the management of visually observed mutant phenotypes is still in its infant stage, let alone the complex query methods that can draw upon high-level and aggregated information to answer the questions of geneticists. In this paper, we address the scientific challenge and propose to develop a robust framework for managing the knowledge of visually observed phenotypes, mining the correlation of visual characteristics with genetic maps, and discovering the knowledge relating to cross-species conservation of visual and genetic patterns. The ultimate goal of this research is to allow a geneticist to submit phenotypic and genomic information on a mutant to a knowledge base and ask, "What genes or environmental factors cause this visually observed phenotype?".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1213
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications


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