The Monarch Initiative: Insights across species reveal human disease mechanisms
Christopher J Mungall,
Julie A McMurry,
James P Balhoff,
Julius O.B. Jacobsen,
Suzanna E Lewis,
Jeremy Nguyen Xuan,
Nicole A Vasilevsky,
Nicole L Washington,
Peter N. Robinson,
Melissa A Haendel
Posted 03 Nov 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/055756
Posted 03 Nov 2016
The principles of genetics apply across the whole tree of life: on a cellular level, we share mechanisms with species from which we diverged millions or even billions of years ago. We can exploit this common ancestry at the level of sequences, but also in terms of observable outcomes (phenotypes), to learn more about health and disease for humans and all other species. Applying the range of available knowledge to solve challenging disease problems requires unified data relating genomics, phenotypes, and disease; it also requires computational tools that leverage these multimodal data to inform interpretations by geneticists and to suggest experiments. However, the distribution and heterogeneity of databases is a major impediment: databases tend to focus either on a single data type across species, or on single species across data types. Although each database provides rich, high-quality information, no single one provides unified data that is comprehensive across species, biological scales, and data types. Without a big-picture view of the data, many questions in genetics are difficult or impossible to answer. The Monarch Initiative (https://monarchinitiative.org) is an international consortium dedicated to providing computational tools that leverage a computational representation of phenotypic data for genotype-phenotype analysis, genomic diagnostics, and precision medicine on the basis of a large-scale platform of multimodal data that is deeply integrated across species and covering broad areas of disease.
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