More than a decade of developmental gene expression atlases: where are we now?

B. A. de Boer, J. M. Ruijter, F. P. J. M. Voorbraak, A. F. M. Moorman
2009 Nucleic Acids Research  
To unravel regulatory networks of genes functioning during embryonic development, information on in situ gene expression is required. Enormous amounts of such data are available in literature, where each paper reports on a limited number of genes and developmental stages. The best way to make these data accessible is via spatio-temporal gene expression atlases. Eleven atlases, describing developing vertebrates and covering at least 100 genes, were reviewed. This review focuses on: (i) the used
more » ... natomical framework, (ii) the handling of input data and (iii) the retrieval of information. Our aim is to provide insights into both the possibilities of the atlases, as well as to describe what more than a decade of developmental gene expression atlases can teach us about the requirements of the design of the 'ideal atlas'. This review shows that most ingredients needed to develop the ideal atlas are already applied to some extent in at least one of the discussed atlases. A review of these atlases shows that the ideal atlas should be based on a spatial framework, i.e. a series of 3D reference models, which is anatomically annotated using an ontology with sufficient resolution, both for relations as well as for anatomical terms.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkp819 pmid:19822576 pmcid:PMC2794177 fatcat:b42adqur7zd4bewbbxxzg6gjei