Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. The increasing use of high-throughput methods for the production of biologically important information and the increasing diversity of that information pose considerable bioinformatics challenges. These challenges will be met by implementing electronic data management systems not only to capture the data, but increasingly to provide a platform for data integration and mining as we enter the post-genomic era. We discuss the design and implementation of such a data capture system, `Mutabase', as a model of how such electronic systems might be designed and implemented. Mutabase was created in support of a large-scale, phenotype-driven mouse mutagenesis program at MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, Harwell, in collaboration with SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. The aim of this mutagenesis project is to make a significant contribution to the existing mouse mutant resource, closing the phenotype gap and providing many more models for fundamental research and disease modeling. Mutabase records experimental details at the `point of generation' and provides a number of dissemination and analysis tools for the experimental data, as well as providing a means of assessing various aspects of progress of the program. Mutabase uses a hypertext-based interface to provide interaction between a number of intranet-based client workstations and a central industrial strength database. Mutabase utilizes a variety of techniques in order to implement the user interface system including Perl/CGI, Java Servlets, and an experimental CORBA server. We discuss the relative merits of these methods in the context of the need to provide sound informatics approaches for the support of systematic mutagenesis programs.
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