Planarian Anatomy Ontology: a resource to connect data within and across experimental platforms

Development. 2021 Aug 1;148(15):dev196097. doi: 10.1242/dev.196097. Epub 2021 Aug 2.


As the planarian research community expands, the need for an interoperable data organization framework for tool building has become increasingly apparent. Such software would streamline data annotation and enhance cross-platform and cross-species searchability. We created the Planarian Anatomy Ontology (PLANA), an extendable relational framework of defined Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed) anatomical terms used in the field. At publication, PLANA contains over 850 terms describing Smed anatomy from subcellular to system levels across all life cycle stages, in intact animals and regenerating body fragments. Terms from other anatomy ontologies were imported into PLANA to promote interoperability and comparative anatomy studies. To demonstrate the utility of PLANA as a tool for data curation, we created resources for planarian embryogenesis, including a staging series and molecular fate-mapping atlas, and the Planarian Anatomy Gene Expression database, which allows retrieval of a variety of published transcript/gene expression data associated with PLANA terms. As an open-source tool built using FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reproducible) principles, our strategy for continued curation and versioning of PLANA also provides a platform for community-led growth and evolution of this resource.

Keywords: Anatomy; Embryogenesis; Ontology; Planarian; Regeneration; Staging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Ontology
  • Life Cycle Stages / genetics
  • Planarians / anatomy & histology*
  • Planarians / genetics*
  • Regeneration / genetics
  • Software