Recent advances in functional genomics have enabled large-scale analyses of gene and protein function by means of high-throughput cell biological analyses. Cells in culture are perturbed in vitro and the induced effects recorded and analyzed. Perturbations can be triggered in several ways, for instance with molecules (siRNA, expression construct, small chemical compounds, ligands for receptors, etc), through environmental stresses (such as temperature shift, serum starvation, oxygen deprivation, etc.), or combinations thereof. The cellular responses to such perturbations are analyzed in order to identify molecular events in the biological processes addressed and understand biological principles. Given the availability of such data, there is a growing need to compare and integrate data that originate from different, albeit complementary approaches, and to elucidate higher order principles. These measures are also the basis of systems biological investigations.
Minimum information about the rationale, materials, the conditions prior to, during, and after the perturbation, as well as other experimental conditions must be documented in order to fully describe cellular assay projects, and to provide a general knowledge base about such assays. Moreover, controlled vocabularies and data models should be employed wherever possible. Only then would efficient integration of data be possible, allowing researchers to assess the quality and relevance of the gathered data and the deduced information.
We propose the Minimum Information About a Cellular Assay (MIACA), and develop this as an information guideline and a modular Cellular Assay Object Model (CA-OM) that is capable of covering the range of cellular assays possible and which is the basis for efficient data exchange. We invite broad participation in the further development of MIACA and the contents of its object model, to create a widely accepted guideline that will facilitate an efficient assessment of data quality and relevance, and to stimulate the development of databases that will take cell assay data and their accompanying description in a standardized format.
The main development page is located http://sourceforge.net/projects/miaca.
There, three documents are posted. Click
here for the latest versions, and for the history of these documents.
1.) a pdf-file describing the rationale and the modular structure of the reporting guideline (Documentation).
2.) An example implementation of MIACA and the Cellular Assay Object Model (CA-OM) is an xml-file.
3.) The schema of the CA-OM model is depicted in an xsd-file
These files and their content are continuously updated as soon as major changes have been made.
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