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Genome Res. 1998 Mar;8(3):234-50.

GAIA: framework annotation of genomic sequence.

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Computational Biology and Informatics Laboratory, Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6021, USA.


As increasing amounts of genomic sequence from many organisms become available, and as DNA sequences become a primary reagent in biologic investigations, the role of annotation as a prospective guide for laboratory experiments will expand rapidly. Here we describe a process of high-throughput, reliable annotation, called framework annotation, which is designed to provide a foundation for initial biologic characterization of previously unexamined sequence. To examine this concept in practice, we have constructed Genome Annotation and Information Analysis (GAIA), a prototype software architecture that implements several elements important for framework annotation. The center of GAIA consists of an annotation database and the associated data management subsystem that forms the software bus along which other components communicate. The schema for this database defines three principal concepts: (1) Entries, consisting of sequence and associated historical data; (2) Features, comprising information of biologic interest; and (3) Experiments, describing the evidence that supports Features. The database permits tracking of annotation results over time, as well as assessment of the reliability of particular results. New framework annotation is produced by CARTA, a set of autonomous sensors that perform automatic analyses and assert results into the annotation database. These results are available via a Web-based query interface that uses graphical Java applets as well as text-based HTML pages to display data at different levels of resolution and permit interactive exploration of annotation. We present results for initial application of framework annotation to a set of test sequences, demonstrating its effectiveness in providing a starting point for biologic investigation, and discuss ways in which the current prototype can be improved. The prototype is available for public use and comment at

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