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EMMA 2 – A MAGE-compliant system for the collaborative analysis and integration of microarray data

Author(s): Dondrup Michael | Albaum Stefan | Griebel Thasso | Henckel Kolja | Jünemann Sebastian | Kahlke Tim | Kleindt Christiane | Küster Helge | Linke Burkhard | Mertens Dominik | Mittard-Runte Virginie | Neuweger Heiko | Runte Kai | Tauch Andreas | Tille Felix | Pühler Alfred | Goesmann Alexander

Journal: BMC Bioinformatics
ISSN 1471-2105

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 50;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Background Understanding transcriptional regulation by genome-wide microarray studies can contribute to unravel complex relationships between genes. Attempts to standardize the annotation of microarray data include the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) recommendations, the MAGE-ML format for data interchange, and the use of controlled vocabularies or ontologies. The existing software systems for microarray data analysis implement the mentioned standards only partially and are often hard to use and extend. Integration of genomic annotation data and other sources of external knowledge using open standards is therefore a key requirement for future integrated analysis systems. Results The EMMA 2 software has been designed to resolve shortcomings with respect to full MAGE-ML and ontology support and makes use of modern data integration techniques. We present a software system that features comprehensive data analysis functions for spotted arrays, and for the most common synthesized oligo arrays such as Agilent, Affymetrix and NimbleGen. The system is based on the full MAGE object model. Analysis functionality is based on R and Bioconductor packages and can make use of a compute cluster for distributed services. Conclusion Our model-driven approach for automatically implementing a full MAGE object model provides high flexibility and compatibility. Data integration via SOAP-based web-services is advantageous in a distributed client-server environment as the collaborative analysis of microarray data is gaining more and more relevance in international research consortia. The adequacy of the EMMA 2 software design and implementation has been proven by its application in many distributed functional genomics projects. Its scalability makes the current architecture suited for extensions towards future transcriptomics methods based on high-throughput sequencing approaches which have much higher computational requirements than microarrays.
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