Motivation: During the next phase of the Human Genome Project, research will focus on functional studies of attributing functions to genes, their regulatory elements, and other DNA sequences. To facilitate the use of genomic information in such studies, a new modeling perspective is needed to examine and study genome sequences in the context of many kinds of biological information. Pathways are the logical format for modeling and presenting such information in a manner that is familiar to biological researchers.
Results: In this paper we present an integrated system, called Pathways Database System, with a set of software tools for modeling, storing, analyzing, visualizing, and querying biological pathways data at different levels of genetic, molecular, biochemical and organismal detail. The novel features of the system include: (a) genomic information integrated with other biological data and presented from a pathway, rather than from the DNA sequence, perspective; (b) design for biologists who are possibly unfamiliar with genomics, but whose research is essential for annotating gene and genome sequences with biological functions; (c) database design, implementation and graphical tools which enable users to visualize pathways data in multiple abstraction levels, and to pose predetermined queries; and (d) an implementation that allows for web(XML)-based dissemination of query outputs (i.e. pathways data) to researchers in the community, giving them control on the use of pathways data.
Availability: Available on request from the authors.