BioThings SDK: a toolkit for building high-performance data APIs in biomedical research

Bioinformatics. 2022 Jan 10;btac017. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btac017. Online ahead of print.


Summary: To meet the increased need of making biomedical resources more accessible and reusable, Web APIs or web services have become a common way to disseminate knowledge sources. The BioThings APIs are a collection of high-performance, scalable, annotation as a service APIs that automate the integration of biological annotations from disparate data sources. This collection of APIs currently includes,, and for integrating annotations on genes, variants, and chemical compounds, respectively. These APIs are used by both individual researchers and application developers to simplify the process of annotation retrieval and identifier mapping. Here, we describe the BioThings Software Development Kit (SDK), a generalizable and reusable toolkit for integrating data from multiple disparate data sources and creating high-performance APIs. This toolkit allows users to easily create their own BioThings APIs for any data type of interest to them, as well as keep APIs up-to-date with their underlying data sources.

Availability and implementation: The BioThings SDK is built in Python and released via PyPI ( Its source code is hosted at its github repository (

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.