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News 654 views last update:14 Jan 2016

New online data resource profits animal scientists

The University of Missouri in the US has developed the Soybean Knowledge Base (SoyKB), a free online data resource, that allows collaboration among international researchers, scientists and farmers to solve questions encountered in soybean research.

Often, data from numerous experiments is gathered and disregarded, with only the desired results analyzed. SoyKB is a new digital infrastructure needed to store previously disregarded data to take plant science to the next level.

Spreadsheet blur
"Humans only can look at so many lines in an excel spreadsheet—then it just kind of blurs," said Gary Stacey, collaborator on the project, an investigator in the MU Bond Life Sciences Center and professor of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "We need these kinds of tools to be able to deal with this high-volume data. With this database, all the data is deposited and available so something that's not valuable to me may be valuable to somebody else."

Useful for cross reference
"SoyKB has turned out to be a very good public resource for the soybean community to cross reference and check the details of their findings," said Trupti Joshi, assistant research professor in computer science at the College of Engineering at MU. "It can be really difficult for biologists to handle the large scope of data by themselves, and this tool allows researchers to focus more on the biology."

Obama's 'Big Data Initiative'
SoyKB is a part of the Obama Administration's $200 million "Big Data" Initiative, a program that works to improve the ability to extract knowledge and insight from large and complex collections of digital data and promises to help solve some of the nation's most pressing challenges. The progress of SoyKB was presented at the International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine in Shanghai in December, 2013. The ongoing project is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation.

Source: University of Missouri

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