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Logo of jbiomedsemBioMed CentralBioMed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleJournal of Biomedical SemanticsJournal Front Page
J Biomed Semantics. 2011; 2(Suppl 2): S7.
Published online May 17, 2011. doi:  10.1186/2041-1480-2-S2-S7
PMCID: PMC3102896

Developing a kidney and urinary pathway knowledge base

Abstract

Background

Chronic renal disease is a global health problem. The identification of suitable biomarkers could facilitate early detection and diagnosis and allow better understanding of the underlying pathology. One of the challenges in meeting this goal is the necessary integration of experimental results from multiple biological levels for further analysis by data mining. Data integration in the life science is still a struggle, and many groups are looking to the benefits promised by the Semantic Web for data integration.

Results

We present a Semantic Web approach to developing a knowledge base that integrates data from high-throughput experiments on kidney and urine. A specialised KUP ontology is used to tie the various layers together, whilst background knowledge from external databases is incorporated by conversion into RDF. Using SPARQL as a query mechanism, we are able to query for proteins expressed in urine and place these back into the context of genes expressed in regions of the kidney.

Conclusions

The KUPKB gives KUP biologists the means to ask queries across many resources in order to aggregate knowledge that is necessary for answering biological questions. The Semantic Web technologies we use, together with the background knowledge from the domain’s ontologies, allows both rapid conversion and integration of this knowledge base. The KUPKB is still relatively small, but questions remain about scalability, maintenance and availability of the knowledge itself.

Availability

The KUPKB may be accessed via http://www.e-lico.eu/kupkb.


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