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Open Access Software

CDAO-Store: Ontology-driven Data Integration for Phylogenetic Analysis

Brandon Chisham, Ben Wright, Trung Le, Tran Cao Son and Enrico Pontelli*

Author Affiliations

Department of Computer Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2011, 12:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-98

Published: 15 April 2011

Abstract

Background

The Comparative Data Analysis Ontology (CDAO) is an ontology developed, as part of the EvoInfo and EvoIO groups supported by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, to provide semantic descriptions of data and transformations commonly found in the domain of phylogenetic analysis. The core concepts of the ontology enable the description of phylogenetic trees and associated character data matrices.

Results

Using CDAO as the semantic back-end, we developed a triple-store, named CDAO-Store. CDAO-Store is a RDF-based store of phylogenetic data, including a complete import of TreeBASE. CDAO-Store provides a programmatic interface, in the form of web services, and a web-based front-end, to perform both user-defined as well as domain-specific queries; domain-specific queries include search for nearest common ancestors, minimum spanning clades, filter multiple trees in the store by size, author, taxa, tree identifier, algorithm or method. In addition, CDAO-Store provides a visualization front-end, called CDAO-Explorer, which can be used to view both character data matrices and trees extracted from the CDAO-Store. CDAO-Store provides import capabilities, enabling the addition of new data to the triple-store; files in PHYLIP, MEGA, nexml, and NEXUS formats can be imported and their CDAO representations added to the triple-store.

Conclusions

CDAO-Store is made up of a versatile and integrated set of tools to support phylogenetic analysis. To the best of our knowledge, CDAO-Store is the first semantically-aware repository of phylogenetic data with domain-specific querying capabilities. The portal to CDAO-Store is available at http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/~cdaostore webcite.