Preserving sequence annotations across reference sequences

Tatum Z, Roos M, Gibson AP, Taschner PE, Thompson M, Schultes EA, Laros JF

Journal of Biomedical Semantics 5(Suppl 1 Proceedings of the Bio-Ontologies Spec Interest G):S6, January 2014
DOI: 10.1186/2041-1480-5-S1-S6


Matching and comparing sequence annotations of different reference sequences is vital to genomics research, yet many annotation formats do not specify the reference sequence types or versions used. This makes the integration of annotations from different sources difficult and error prone.

As part of our effort to create linked data for interoperable sequence annotations, we present an RDF data model for sequence annotation using the ontological framework established by the OBO Foundry ontologies and the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). We defined reference sequences as the common domain of integration for sequence annotations, and identified three semantic relationships between sequence annotations. In doing so, we created the Reference Sequence Annotation to compensate for gaps in the SO and in its mapping to BFO, particularly for annotations that refer to versions of consensus reference sequences. Moreover, we present three integration models for sequence annotations using different reference assemblies.

We demonstrated a working example of a sequence annotation instance, and how this instance can be linked to other annotations on different reference sequences. Sequence annotations in this format are semantically rich and can be integrated easily with different assemblies. We also identify other challenges of modeling reference sequences with the BFO.

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