WormBase-Caltech Weekly Calls

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2020 Meetings






June 4, 2020

Citace (tentative) upload

  • CIT curators upload to citace on Tuesday, July 7th, 10am Pacific
  • Citace upload to Hinxton on Friday, July 10th

Caltech reopening

  • Paul looking to get plan approved
  • People that want to come to campus need to watch training video
  • Masks available in Paul's lab
  • Can have maximum of 3 people in WormBase rooms at a time; probably best to only allow one person per WB room
    • Could possibly have 2 people in big room (Church 64) as long as they stay at least 10 feet apart
  • Need to coordinate, maybe make a Google calendar to do so (also Slack)
  • Before and after you go to campus, you need to take your temperature and assess your symptoms (if any) and submit info on form
  • Also, need to submit who you were in contact with for contact tracing
  • Form is used all week, and hold on to it until asked to be submitted
  • If someone goes in to the office, they could print several forms for people to pick up in WB offices


  • Nameserver was down
  • CIT curators would still like to have a single form to interact with
  • Is it possible to create objects at Caltech and let a cronjob assign IDs via the nameserver? May not be a good idea
  • Still putting genotype and all info for a strain in the reason/why field in the nameserver
  • We plan to eventually connect strains to genotypes, but need model changes and curation effort to sort out
  • Hinxton is pulling in CGC strains, how often?
  • Caltech could possibly get a block of IDs

Alliance SimpleMine

  • Any updates? 3.1 feature freeze is tomorrow
  • Pending on PI decision; Paul S. will bring it up tomorrow on the Alliance PI call

June 11, 2020

Name Service

  • Testing site now up; linked to Mangolassi
  • CGI from Juancarlos not accepting all characters, including double quotes like "
  • Example submission that fails via CGI
WBPaper000XXXX; genotype: blah::' " ` / < > [ ] { } ? , . ( ) * ^ & % $ # @ ! \ | α β Ω ≈ µ ≤ ≥ ÷ æ … ˚ ∆ ∂ ß œ ∑ † ¥ ¨ ü i î ø π “   ‘ « • – ≠ Å ´ ∏ » ± — ‚ °
  • Juancarlos will look into and try to fix

Alliance Literature group

  • Textpresso vs. OntoMate vs. PubMed
  • Still some confusion about what the different tasks can be performed in each tool
  • Working on collecting different use cases on spreadsheet
  • Sentence-based search is big strength of Textpresso
  • At latest meeting performed some large searches for OntoMate and Textpresso
  • Literature acquisition: still needs work
    • Using SVM vs. Textpresso search to find relevant papers
    • Species based SVM? Currently use string matching to derive different corpora
    • Finding genes and determining which species those genes belong to?

Alliance priorities?

  • Transcription regulatory networks
  • Interactions can focus on network viewer eventually
    • May want different versions/flavors of interaction viewers
    • May also want to work closely with GO and GO-CAMs
  • Gene descriptions can focus on information poor genes, protein domains, etc.

Sandbox visual cues

  • Juancarlos and Daniela will discuss ways to provide visual cues that a curator is on a sandbox form (on Mangolassi) vs live form (on Tazendra)
  • AFP and Micropub dev sites have indicators
  • Could play with changing the background color? Maybe too hard to look at?
  • Change the color of the title of the form, e.g. the OA?
  • Will add red text "Development Site" at top of the OA form

Evidence Code Ontology

  • Kimberly and Juancarlos have worked on a parser
  • Will load into ACEDB soon

June 18, 2020

Undergrad phenotype submissions

  • Chris gave presentation to Lina Dahlberg's class about community phenotype curation
  • Class took survey about experience with presentation and experience trying to curate worm phenotypes
  • Since April 24, the class has submitted 171 annotations from 23 papers (some redundant and some still under review)

Special characters in OA/Postgres

  • There are many special characters in free text entries in the OA; probably all from copy-pasting directly from PDF
  • In some cases it seems the special characters cause problems for downstream scripts (e.g. FTP interactions file generator)
  • It would probably be good to script the replacement of special characters with their appropriate simple characters or encoded characters
  • Juancarlos wrote Perl script on Mangolassi at:
    • /home/postgres/work/pgpopulation/grg_generegulation/20200618_summary_characters/get_summary_characters.pl
    • Will find bad characters and their pgids for a given Postgres table
    • Will find bad data and their pgids for the same table
    • People can query their data tables for these characters
  • Chris & Wen will work on compiling a list of bad characters that tend to come up

Citace upload

  • July 10th citace-to-Hinxton upload
  • July 7th citace upload, but Wen will be on vacation so will upload to Wen on Tuesday, June 30th

June 25, 2020

Caltech Summer Student

  • Paul has new summer student
    • Molecular lesion curation, maybe
    • Are early stops more or less likely to be null mutations?
    • Alleles are flagged as null in WB in the context of phenotypes
    • Would be good to query Postgres for null alleles and work from there
  • Fernando
    • Anatomy function
    • GO curation? Curating transcription factors?
      • Checking for consistent curation

Worm Community Diversity Meeting

  • Organized by Ahna Skop and Dana Miller
  • Invite posted on Facebook "C. elegans Researchers" group
  • Two meetings held: one Thursday (June 18th), one Friday (June 19th)
  • Chris attended last Friday (June 19th)
  • Worm Board looking to take input and ideas from this meeting and incorporate into meetings and events
  • One idea was to document and track outreach efforts and what people have learned from them and organize them in a central location, maybe WormBase or Worm Community Forum
  • Also, there was a suggestion to have a tool that could inform potential students of worm labs in their respective local area
    • Ask Todd; he used to have a map of researchers; Todd had asked Cecilia to curate lab location and institution
  • Person and Laboratory addresses in ACEDB have a different format, so looking to reconcile
  • Do we know how many labs are still viable? Check for a paper verified in the last 5 years, or requested strains from the CGC recently
    • Most labs were real

C_elegans Slack group

  • Called "C_elegans"
  • Chris made a "WormBase" channel for people to post questions, comments
  • Chris will look into inviting everyone and possibly integrating with help@wormbase.org email list

WormBase Outreach Webinars

  • While travel is still restricted, we should consider WormBase webinars
  • Scott working on a JBrowse webinar
  • Could have a different topic each month
  • Should collect topics to cover and assign speakers (maybe multiple speakers per topic; keep it lively)
  • Should set up a schedule
  • How should we advertise? Can post on blog, twitter, etc.

New transcripts expanding gene range

  • Will bring up at next week's site-wide call
  • Possibly due to incorporation of newer nanopore reads
  • Many genes coming in WS277 have expanded well beyond the gene limits as seen in WS276
    • Example genes: pes-2.2, pck-2, herc-1, atic-1
  • Has several repercussions:
    • WormBase does not submit alleles affecting more than one gene; with these gene expansions suddenly alleles once only affecting a single gene are now affecting two genes, and so are now omitted from loading into the Alliance (including any phenotype and/or disease annotations)
    • Some expanded genes are now being attributed with thousands of alleles/variants

Citace upload

  • Upload files to Spica/Wen by Tuesday (June 30th) 10am
  • Wen will clean up folders in Spica (older files from WS277 not cleared out for some reason)

July 9th, 2020

Gene names issue in SimpleMine and other mining tools

  • Wen: Last week, Jonathan Ewbank raised the issue of gene names that may refer to multiple objects.
  • this can be an issue for multiple data mining tools including WormMine, BioMart, and Gene Set Enrichment.
  • Perhaps have a standalone approach to check if any gene name among a list may refer to multiple objects (users check their name lists before submitting them to any data mining tool).
  • Jae: The public name issue has heterogeneous natures. That means there may be no single solution to solve all those problems.
  • Gene list curation from high-throughput studies, confusing usage of public names probably less than 2% (still cannot be ignored). See examples below--
    • single public name is assigned to multiple WBgene ID, Wen has a list of these genes
    • overlapped or dicistronic genes, ex. mrpl-44 and F02A9.10
    • overlapped or dicistronic, but has a single sequence name, examples:
   exos-4.1 and tin-9.2 (B0564.1)
   eat-18 and lev-10 (Y105E8A.7)
   cha-1 and unc-17 (ZC416.8)
    • simple confusion from authors, ex. mdh-1 and mdh-2
  • One of the most significant problems is a propagation to other DB and papers of these gene name issues.
  • We can make a special note for each gene page, but the people using batch analysis could not catch that easily.
  • Conclusion: Jae and Wen will work on a tool that lets Users "sanitize" their gene lists before submission to data mining tools. They will also write a microPub explaining this issue to the community.


  • Please test and leave any feedback on the word cloud tool (Wormicloud), https://wormicloud.textpressolab.com/
  • Valerio and Jae have worked on a tool that uses data in Textpresso; given a keyword, eg. "transposon", the tool generates a word cloud and word trend.
  • Any keyword can generate a graph that plots trends of occurence across the years in publication abstracts.

Noctua 2.0 form ready to use

  • Caltech summer student will try using Noctua initially for dauer (neuronal signaling) pathways

Nightly names service updates to postgres

  • Nightly using Matt's wb-names-export.jar to get full output of genes from datomic/names service, and updating postgres based on that.