Phenome Networks Announces Project Unity: Correcting the Wrong of Lost Phenotype-to-Genotype Breeding Research Data, Bringing the Next Agricultural Revolution

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A collaborative network designed to host, manage, analyze and share phenotypic and genotypic studies of plants and animals, Project Unity, in beta, is provided free of charge to the academic community.

Project Unity

The idea that Project Unity promotes of having a single platform for managing and sharing germplasm, phenotypes and genotypes is very important for both scientific and teaching purposes.

Phenome Networks, a plant breeding management and analytics Software-as-a-Service company, announced today the beta launch of its Project Unity at the Plant and Animal Genome (PAG) XXIII conference in San Diego.

Today, plant and animal breeders must discover the crops to feed the future through breakthrough research. Yet, at the same time, phenotypic data from hundreds of genetic studies conducted in academia - examining plant species in multiple locations/conditions, population types, environmental conditions and locations – is lost. How can research then detect the genes that confer improved plant or animal traits? Although the data is public and is immensely valuable, this data is lost. Datasets are published in scientific journals (as PDF files) and the underlying raw data is left in researchers’ spreadsheets.

Project Unity was conceived to correct that wrong. It is a collaborative web-based network designed to host, manage, analyze and share phenotypic and genotypic studies of plants and animals. Project Unity lets researchers privately link and correlate their results with the world’s data, unleashing research insights through big data analytics. Researchers can connect their entities (genotypes, phenotypes and markers) to common ontologies and maps and get immediate access to the entire amazing wealth of research data from leading universities.

A two minute animation video explaining project unity is available here.

Dr. Todd Wehner, Professor at North Carolina State University and a watermelon and cucumber breeder said "the idea that Project Unity promotes of having a single platform for managing and sharing germplasm, phenotypes and genotypes is very important for both scientific and teaching purposes”

Dr. Loren Rieseberg, Professor of Botany at the University of British Columbia, said “I would like to see our Lab involved in Project Unity".

Jordi Garcia Mas, Head Plant Genetics Department at IRTA-CRAG, Barcelona, Spain said "there is no doubt that Project Unity will be a great tool for many laboratories and specifically for our yield stability proposal".

By default, data loaded into Project Unity is private and can be accessed only by the person who uploaded it. Sharing of data sets, either with specific users or with the public is fully upon the user's discretion.

Project Unity simplifies the analysis process of phenotypes and genotypes, creates standardization and allows smart comparison among different data sets, eventually leading to better understanding of genes’ effects on phenotypes.

The platform is currently in beta and free of charge for academic use. Later in 2015, it will be upgraded to include full plant breeding management functionality.

About Phenome Networks
Phenome Networks Ltd. (http://www.phenome-networks.com) provides a state of the art bio-informatics platform that organizes the wealth of genotype-to-phenotype data generated in the plant breeding process and genetic research in commercial companies and academic institutes. The platform allows extracting knowledge and insights that accelerate plant breeding. The burst of genotyping technologies in recent years has the potential to transform the way traditional breeding is conducted. The company’s strategy is to supply novel statistical methods and algorithms to assist its customers in coping with these changes and translating big data problems into smart decisions.

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Oskar Laufer
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