How to efficiently integrate the daily practice of molecular biologists, geneticists, and clinicians with the emerging computational strategies from systems biology is still much of an open question.
We built on the recent advances in Wiki-based technologies to develop a collaborative knowledge base and gene prioritization portal aimed at mapping genes and genomic regions, and untangling their relations with corresponding human phenotypes, congenital heart defects (CHDs). This portal is not only an evolving community repository of current knowledge on the genetic basis of CHDs, but also a collaborative environment for the study of candidate genes potentially implicated in CHDs - in particular by integrating recent strategies for the statistical prioritization of candidate genes. It thus serves and connects the broad community that is facing CHDs, ranging from the pediatric cardiologist and clinical geneticist to the basic investigator of cardiogenesis.
This study describes the first specialized portal to collaboratively annotate and analyze gene-phenotype networks. Of broad interest to the biological community, we argue that such portals will play a significant role in systems biology studies of numerous complex biological processes.
CHDWiki is accessible at http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/~bioiuser/chdwiki