About This Portal
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute generates, characterises, and uses a variety of reagents for mouse genetics research. It also aims to facilitate the distribution of these resources to the external scientific community. Here, you will find unified access to the different resources available from the Institute or its collaborators. The resources include: 129S7 and C57BL6/J bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), MICER gene targeting vectors, knock-out first conditional-ready gene targeting vectors, embryonic stem (ES) cells with gene targeted mutations or with retroviral gene trap insertions, mutant mouse lines, and phenotypic data generated from the Institute's primary screen.
How This Portal Works
This portal is powered by software called MartSearch, a server-side client written in Ruby used to pull together data from distributed data sources (housed in BioMarts) into a single unified view.
MartSearchr works by first building a search engine (using Apache Solr) looking at all of the available search terms in the cloud of BioMarts and tying/grouping them to an MGI gene locus. Here are some diagrams explaining how this linking is done and the relationships between the data:
When a user performs a search, the query is first run against the search engine which returns a paginated list of MGI gene loci and associated meta data, this meta data is then used to retrieve the information from the cloud of BioMarts (data sources) available to the search interface.
Using MartSearch to Make the WTSI Mouse Resource Portal
Here are some of the reasons we decided to use this approach to building this the WTSI Mouse Resource Portal.
Presenting an Integrated Overview of Mouse Data
The WTSI Mouse Resource Portal focuses on mouse genes, the results of high-throughput gene knockout programs, and related phenotypic and expression data. The WTSI Mouse Resource Portal talks with Biomarts via web-services to gather and present its data.
No Need for a Central Data Store or Web Server
Does mouse informatics have an obvious single centre? Gene curation, the production of mutant ES cells, the production of mutant mice, expression and phenotyping studies all have important informatic data and presentation techniques to offer the end-user. The software that has been developed for the purpose of this portal (MartSearchr) allows these diverse groups to remain engaged in the portal's user interface without having to centralise portal development and data in a single datastore.