A geometric database for gene expression data

Symp Geom Process. 2003;2003:166-176.


As the logical next step after sequencing the mouse genome, biologists have developed laboratory methods for rapidly determining where each of the 30K genes in the mouse genome is synthesizing protein. Applying these methods to the mouse brain, biologists are currently generating large numbers of 2D cross-sectional images that record the expression pattern for each gene in the mouse genome. In this paper, we describe the structure of a geometric database for the mouse brain that allows biologists to organize and search this gene expression data. The central component of this database is an atlas that explicitly partitions the mouse brain into key anatomical regions. This atlas is represented as a Catmull-Clark subdivision mesh with anatomical regions separated by a network of B-spline crease curves. New gene expression images are added to the database by deforming this atlas onto each image using techniques developed for fitting subdivision surfaces to scatter data. Due to this partitioning of the subdivision mesh, user queries comparing expression data between various genes can be restricted to anatomical regions without difficulty while the multi-resolution structure of the subdivision mesh allows these queries to be processed efficiently.