The Object Management Group’s Life Sciences Domain Task Force has officially targeted pathway representation as its next focus area for life science data standardization.
At its meeting last month in Helsinki, Finland, September 30-October 4, the LSR issued a request for proposals for a new specification called “Biochemical Pathways.” The RFP is “very broad,” according to LSR co-chair David Benton, so that the standard that arises from it will support representation of pathways in pathway repositories, visual depiction of pathway maps, and pathway simulation.
Benton stressed that the OMG does not want to reinvent the wheel. “The RFP lists a number of existing proposals that are out in the literature, and we shied away from calling any one of them a de facto standard because there are several,” he said. “But basically the submitters were pointed toward existing work and told ‘where you can, reuse that.’” Benton added that the I3C is putting together a pathways working group, and the OMG is hoping that the overlap in interests will present an opportunity for the two groups to work together. While details have yet to be ironed out, the “favored model” so far is for the I3C to do a parallel implementation at the same time that the formal technology adoption process is going forward through the LSR, Benton said.
Another area of overlap with the I3C is gene expression identifiers, and Benton said the two groups are in discussions to make that a joint project. The OMG is also drafting a request for proposals for “Gene Expression Query Service” that is scheduled for issue at the OMG’s next meeting in Washington, DC, November 18-22.
Voting on finalizing the MAGE (Microarray Gene Expression) standard also began in Helsinki, Benton said. Voting is an electronic process that usually lasts about six to eight weeks, he noted.