PEAO: an ontology for plant experimental pipelines

The Plant Experimental Assay Ontology (PEAO) is an ontology devoted to describing experimental pipelines in plant biology, from the field to the lab to the computer.

A preliminary version of the ontology was drafted in 2014, but further development was necessary to make it fully usable. Furthermore, we were interested in adhering to the standards set forth by the OBO foundry for ontology development. Thus, within the context of EXCELERATE WP7, we recently undertook the task of revising and extending PEAO to acomplish these goals.

Due to the lack of ontologies for describing experimental pipelines, we designed an upper level ontology called Experimental Pipelines Ontology (XPO) to do precisely that. While it represents the underlying data model of PEAO, we kept it as a separate ontology because it is generic, and can be used to model virtually any experimental domain. XPO is modeled around the mutually defined concepts of "Sample" and "Operation", as exemplified in the schema.

PEAO imports and reuses other ontologies such as the Plant Ontology and the Plant Environment Ontology, integrating them into the XPO data model. Thus, it defers the description of aspects such as sample or operation characteristics to ontologies that specialize on those aspects.

The revision of the ontology has now been finalized and it is ready for an official release. It will be updated in BioPortal and submitted to the OBO foundry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017