A new Wiki portal for collaborative annotation and analysis of congenital heart defects, recently described in Genome Medicine, highlights the potential of this technology for systems biology studies of other complex biological processes.
Inspired by the well-known Wikipedia, Barriot and colleagues describe CHDWiki, a Wiki knowledge base for congenital heart defects (CHDs), which integrates gene prioritisation strategies and allows browsing of gene interaction networks. Their article ‘Collaboratively charting the gene-to-phenotype network of human congenital heart defects‘ appears in the March issue of Genome Medicine.
CHDs are a major cause of mortality in newborns, but the origin and outcome of such disorders is complex, being the result of many possible genetic abnormalities and/or pre- and post-natal environmental and behavioural components. CHDWiki aims to bridge the gap between the complex analyses necessary to understand these factors, and the wet-lab researchers and clinical geneticists whose work can benefit from this knowledge. The Wiki will not only act as a community repository of up-to-date information on CHDs, but is the first specialised portal to include tools for annotation and analysis of gene-phenotype relationships. The authors anticipate that such portals will be important for systems biology studies of many other medical conditions and biological processes.
Assistant Editor, Genome Medicine