Rapid progress in genome research creates a wealth of information on the functional annotation of mammalian genome sequences. However, as we accumulate large amounts of scientific information we are facing problems of how to integrate and relate the data produced by various genomic approaches. Here, we propose the novel concept of an organ atlas where diverse data from expression maps to histological findings to mutant phenotypes can be queried, compared and visualized in the context of a three-dimensional reconstruction of the organ. We will seek proof of concept for the organ atlas by elucidating genetic pathways involved in development and pathophysiology of the kidney. Such a kidney atlas may provide a paradigm for a new systems-biology approach in functional genome research aimed at understanding the genetic bases of organ development, physiology and disease.
Keywords: EuReGene; development; genetics; genome; kidney; pathophysiology.