BMC bioinformatics. 2019-01-07; 20.1: 8.

OMeta: an ontology-based, data-driven metadata tracking system

Singh I, Kuscuoglu M, Harkins DM, Sutton G, Fouts DE, Nelson KE

PMID: 30612540


The development of high-throughput sequencing and analysis has accelerated multi-omics studies of thousands of microbial species, metagenomes, and infectious disease pathogens. Omics studies are enabling genotype-phenotype association studies which identify genetic determinants of pathogen virulence and drug resistance, as well as phylogenetic studies designed to track the origin and spread of disease outbreaks. These omics studies are complex and often employ multiple assay technologies including genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. To maximize the impact of omics studies, it is essential that data be accompanied by detailed contextual metadata (e.g., specimen, spatial-temporal, phenotypic characteristics) in clear, organized, and consistent formats. Over the years, many metadata standards developed by various metadata standards initiatives have arisen; the Genomic Standards Consortium's minimal information standards (MIxS), the GSCID/BRC Project and Sample Application Standard. Some tools exist for tracking metadata, but they do not provide event based capabilities to configure, collect, validate, and distribute metadata. To address this gap in the scientific community, an event based data-driven application, OMeta, was created that allows users to quickly configure, collect, validate, distribute, and integrate metadata.