Technical Report Number
One goal of any genome project is the elucidation of hte primary sequence of DNA contained within a given species. While the availability ot the primary sequence itself is valuable, it does not reach its full potential until i has been annotated. Generally defined, annotation is descriptive information or commentary added to text, in this case genomic sequence. Without a mechanism for collecting, recording, and disseminating community-based annotation, a valuable source of information is severely diminshed. In this report I outline the design and implementation of a Distributed Annotation System (DAS). DAS allowes sequence annotations to be decentralized among multiple third-party annotators and integrated on an as-needed basis by client-side software. A single server, designated the "reference server," provides essential structural information about the genome: the physical map which relates one sequence to another, the DNA sequence for each entry, and the authorship information. Multiple sites then act as third-party "annotation servers." Using a web browser-like client application, researchers can interrogate one or more annotation servers to retrieve features in a region of interest. The servers return the results using a standard data format, allowing the annotation browser to integrate the information and display a graphical representation of the data. When an annotation is particularly interesting, they can easily return to the originating database for additional information. In short, DAS provides an indexing mechanism between sequence databases.
Dowell, Robin, "A Distributed Annotation System" Report Number: WUCS-01-07 (2001). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.