Open Access Highly Accessed Software

MausDB: An open source application for phenotype data and mouse colony management in large-scale mouse phenotyping projects

Holger Maier1, Christoph Lengger1, Bruno Simic2, Helmut Fuchs1, Valérie Gailus-Durner1 and Martin Hrabé de Angelis13*

Author Affiliations

1 Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Experimental Genetics (IEG), Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany

2 ExpertMind, Neuried, Germany

3 Lehrstuhl für Experimentelle Genetik, Technische Universität München, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:169  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-169

Published: 26 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Large-scale, comprehensive and standardized high-throughput mouse phenotyping has been established as a tool of functional genome research by the German Mouse Clinic and others. In all these projects, vast amounts of data are continuously generated and need to be stored, prepared for data-mining procedures and eventually be made publicly available. Thus, central storage and integrated management of mouse phenotype data, genotype data, metadata and linked external data are highly important. Requirements most probably depend on the individual mouse housing unit or project and the demand for either very specific individual database solutions or very flexible solutions that can be easily adapted to local demands. Not every group has the resources and/or the know-how to develop software for this purpose. A database application has been developed for the German Mouse Clinic in order to meet all requirements mentioned above.

Results

We present MausDB, the German Mouse Clinic web-based database application that integrates standard mouse colony management, phenotyping workflow scheduling features and mouse phenotyping result data management. It links mouse phenotype data with genotype data, metadata and external data such as public web databases, which is a prerequisite for comprehensive data analysis and mining. We describe how this can be achieved with a lean and user-friendly system built on open standards.

Conclusion

MausDB is suited for large-scale, high-throughput phenotyping facilities but can also be used exclusively for mouse colony management within smaller units or projects. The system is successfully used as the primary mouse and data management tool of the German Mouse Clinic and other mouse facilities. We offer MausDB to the scientific community as open source software to provide a system for storage of data from functional genomics projects in a well-structured, easily accessible form.