What are microbial phenotypes & why do they need an ontology?
A phenotype is the expression of a genotype (i.e. the full genetic complement of an organism) in a given environment. For example, eye color, number of seeds per pod, and coat color are phenotypic traits that can be observed in ﬂies, lupines, and ponies, respectively. Within an individual organism, both changes in genetic makeup, such as from bacterial conjugation, and variation in gene expression can result in different phenotypes under similar environmental conditions. Conversely, environmental variation can lead to different outcomes for genetically identical organisms, through variable gene expression. Myriad genetically and taxonomically diverse microbes exhibit countless variability in their morphological and physiological traits, both within and among species. Oftentimes these result in unique and exquisite manifestations, such as the symbiosis between the bioluminescent Vibrio ﬁscheri bacterium and its squid host Euprymna scolopes. Characterization of phenotypes is critically important for medical microbial identiﬁcation, and many unique biotechnological applications of microbes are rooted in phenotypes. Genetic manipulation with associated phenotypic characterization remains an important tool for determining protein function in microorganisms amenable to manipulation, such as Escherichia coli. To facilitate research in all of these areas, we are developing the Ontology of Microbial Phenotypes to allow for standardized capture of essential phenotypic information.
OMP August 2022 Release
We are pleased to announce the August 2022 release of the Ontology of Microbial Phenotypes (OMP) is available at: https://github.com/microbialphenotypes/OMP-ontology/tree/master
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