About and How to Cite


The Phenotype Ontology Research Coordination Network (RCN) was funded by NSF to establish a network of scientists who are interested in comparing phenotypes across species and in developing the tools and methods needed in making this possible.  The representation of morphology, behavior, and other phenotypic traits using ontologies is in its infancy.  Integrating phenotypes with data across all levels of the biological hierarchy, however, is possible if standards are co-developed and coordinated.

This RCN envisions building a community that because of its domain expertise, sets the standards and best practices for the development of phenotype ontologies and a vision for their utility.  Please sign up as a participant and blog subscriber for further information and feel free to contact one of the PIs.  We look forward to this opportunity!

Paula MabeeAndy DeansEva Huala, and Suzanna Lewis

Representing phenotype

Knowing how an organism looks, behaves and functions, i.e., its ‘phenotype’, is central to interpreting the interaction of underlying genes and environmental effects.  Representing phenotype in a way that can be linked to thousands of molecular genetic and environmental databases, however, remains difficult.  Our goal is to establish a network of experts on plant and animal phenotypes and on computer representation methods (ontologies) from communities that are independently developing ways to represent and share phenotype data.  We will bring these scientists into communication and coordinate their activities to: (1) develop standards and best practices for accurate phenotype representations; (2) build key reference ontologies for plants, vertebrates, and arthropods; and (3) cross reference these ontologies so that key data can be easily shared and accessed.  We also will reach out to scientists who can use the data and help them link to it and educate their communities about these computational methods and their utility.

Coordinating scientific efforts so that effective linkages are built into databases from the outset is an efficient and economical mechanism to develop a data network.  Plants and animals show complex integration across genes, phenotype and environment, and a network of these data will enable rapid scientific discovery and progress.

Read the text of the funded Phenotype Ontology NSF RCN grant.

How to cite and link to us

You can cite the Phenotype RCN in your published work as:

“Phenotype Ontology Research Coordination Network; NSF-DEB-0956049; http://www.phenotypercn.org/”

If we have provided you with assistance and advice in your ontology development, we encourage you to link to http://www.phenotypercn.org/ from your website.