Finding our way through phenotypes

A. R. Deans, S. E. Lewis, E. Huala, S. S. Anzaldo, M. Ashburner, J. P. Balhoff, D. C. Blackburn, J. A. Blake, J. G. Burleigh, B. Chanet, L. D. Cooper, M. Courtot, S. Csosz, H. Cui, W. Dahdul, S. Das, T. A. Dececchi, A. Dettai, R. Diogo, R. E. DruzinskyM. Dumontier, N. M. Franz, F. Friedrich, G. V. Gkoutos, M. Haendel, L. J. Harmon, T. F. Hayamizu, Y. He, H. M. Hines, N. Ibrahim, L. M. Jackson, P. Jaiswal, C. James-Zorn, S. Kohler, G. Lecointre, H. Lapp, C. J. Lawrence, N. Le Novere, J. G. Lundberg, J. Macklin, A. R. Mast, P. E. Midford, I. Miko, C. J. Mungall, A. Oellrich, D. Osumi-Sutherland, H. Parkinson, M. J. Ramirez, S. Richter, P. N. Robinson, A. Ruttenberg, K. S. Schulz, E. Segerdell, K. C. Seltmann, M. J. Sharkey, A. D. Smith, B. Smith, C. D. Specht, R. B. Squires, R. W. Thacker, A. Thessen, J. Fernandez-Triana, M. Vihinen, P. D. Vize, L. Vogt, C. E. Wall, R. L. Walls, M. Westerfeld, R. A. Wharton, C. S. Wirkner, J. B. Woolley, M. J. Yoder, A. M. Zorn, P. Mabee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a large and multifaceted effort to understand the vast landscape of phenotypic data, their current form inhibits productive data analysis. The lack of a community-wide, consensus-based, human- and machine-interpretable language for describing phenotypes and their genomic and environmental contexts is perhaps the most pressing scientific bottleneck to integration across many key fields in biology, including genomics, systems biology, development, medicine, evolution, ecology, and systematics. Here we survey the current phenomics landscape, including data resources and handling, and the progress that has been made to accurately capture relevant data descriptions for phenotypes. We present an example of the kind of integration across domains that computable phenotypes would enable, and we call upon the broader biology community, publishers, and relevant funding agencies to support efforts to surmount today's data barriers and facilitate analytical reproducibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1002033
JournalPLoS Biol.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2015


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