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Open Access Highly Accessed Software

eXframe: reusable framework for storage, analysis and visualization of genomics experiments

Amit U Sinha1, Emily Merrill2, Scott A Armstrong1, Tim W Clark23 and Sudeshna Das23*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2 MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

3 Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2011, 12:452  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-452

Published: 21 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Genome-wide experiments are routinely conducted to measure gene expression, DNA-protein interactions and epigenetic status. Structured metadata for these experiments is imperative for a complete understanding of experimental conditions, to enable consistent data processing and to allow retrieval, comparison, and integration of experimental results. Even though several repositories have been developed for genomics data, only a few provide annotation of samples and assays using controlled vocabularies. Moreover, many of them are tailored for a single type of technology or measurement and do not support the integration of multiple data types.

Results

We have developed eXframe - a reusable web-based framework for genomics experiments that provides 1) the ability to publish structured data compliant with accepted standards 2) support for multiple data types including microarrays and next generation sequencing 3) query, analysis and visualization integration tools (enabled by consistent processing of the raw data and annotation of samples) and is available as open-source software. We present two case studies where this software is currently being used to build repositories of genomics experiments - one contains data from hematopoietic stem cells and another from Parkinson's disease patients.

Conclusion

The web-based framework eXframe offers structured annotation of experiments as well as uniform processing and storage of molecular data from microarray and next generation sequencing platforms. The framework allows users to query and integrate information across species, technologies, measurement types and experimental conditions. Our framework is reusable and freely modifiable - other groups or institutions can deploy their own custom web-based repositories based on this software. It is interoperable with the most important data formats in this domain. We hope that other groups will not only use eXframe, but also contribute their own useful modifications.