Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Genome browsers and chronograms

Continuing the theme of visualising phylogenies, one thing which strikes me is the parallel between genome browsers that display annotation "tracks" (such as the UCSC Genome Browser) and illustrations of "chronograms" with geological periods and accompanying data, such as sea levels, isotope levels, etc. In my haste I couldn't find an example with a sea-level track, but I know they exist. The chronogram at right comes from Steppan et al. (doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2003.00274.x). In both cases there is a natural co-ordinate system (genome location and time, respectively) going from left to right, and annotations that can be added using the same frame of reference.

Hence, wouldn't it be cool™ if we had a database of phylogenies that could be queried by time slices (see my earlier post on interval queries), and which would display a phylogeny together with user-selected annotation tracks (obtained, say, from external geological databases)?

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