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. 2010 Oct 5;11:538.
doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-11-538.

AnnoTrack--a Tracking System for Genome Annotation

Free PMC article

AnnoTrack--a Tracking System for Genome Annotation

Felix Kokocinski et al. BMC Genomics. .
Free PMC article


Background: As genome sequences are determined for increasing numbers of model organisms, demand has grown for better tools to facilitate unified genome annotation efforts by communities of biologists. Typically this process involves numerous experts from the field and the use of data from dispersed sources as evidence. This kind of collaborative annotation project requires specialized software solutions for efficient data tracking and processing.

Results: As part of the scale-up phase of the ENCODE project (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements), the aim of the GENCODE project is to produce a highly accurate evidence-based reference gene annotation for the human genome. The AnnoTrack software system was developed to aid this effort. It integrates data from multiple distributed sources, highlights conflicts and facilitates the quick identification, prioritisation and resolution of problems during the process of genome annotation.

Conclusions: AnnoTrack has been in use for the last year and has proven a very valuable tool for large-scale genome annotation. Designed to interface with standard bioinformatics components, such as DAS servers and Ensembl databases, it is easy to setup and configure for different genome projects. The source code is available at


Figure 1
Figure 1
Layout of the AnnoTrack system. Input: Heterogeneous sources are accessed by source adaptors and the data is integrated or analysed directly. Output: All data can be retrieved using the Perl API or the web interface; selected data is exported using DAS.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Flow of data within AnnoTrack. Annotation comparisons are based on the genomic coordinates. The users are directed to most interesting or most urgent issues to work on. Legend: Rectangles = data sources, diamonds = tests, rhombs = actions, light grey = steps accomplished by the AnnoTrack system.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Example of a transcript under review. Complete workflow showing the tracking of annotation updates based on an external analysis as described in the text. 3.a: Transcript list page showing filter options, predefined filters and a filtered list of transcripts with open problems in the selected region sorted by genomic start. 3.b: Detail page of a selected transcript from a. with basic annotation data, links to the id or genomic region in public genome browsers, list of flags for this transcripts and links to resolve them individually or combined, coordinates of exons of this transcripts, gene model representation, and links to other transcripts in the region to allow region-wise problem resolution. 3.c: View of page to resolve selected flags from b. with controlled terms. 3.d: History showing all changes. 3.e: Statistics page for monitoring problem solutions. More screenshot are available at [15].

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