Computomics receives ZIM project grant for PantoGraph: Provides answers at first glance

Pantograph Team. Bildrechte: Zabel/BioRegio STERN Management GmbH
Bildrechte: Zabel/BioRegio STERN Management GmbH

The "PantoGraph" development project receives funding from the Central Innovation Program for Medium-Sized Enterprises (ZIM) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the ZIM network "biohymed" from the BioRegion STERN (Stuttgart and Tuebingen, Germany).

In the age of Next-Generation Sequencing, genomes, i.e. the genetic information of organisms, can be decoded at ever increasing speed. In genome research, this opens up completely new questions: Which genomic differences does a patient with a certain disease have compared to other people?  Do patients with disease-promoting variants of a gene have other related mutations in the genetic vicinity? Can these differences be leveraged for diagnosis and therapy? What genomic differences are evident in a plant’s genome that is exceptionally resistant to drought, for example, and could this ability be transferred?

These are the questions that the joint project "Phenotyping and Population Graph" (PantoGraph) sets out to answer: To answer these questions quickly and reliably, a team from the bioinformatics company Computomics and the Center for Quantitative Biology at the University of Tübingen (QBiC) are developing an innovative software that can visualize the genomes of organisms transparently and interactively.  The innovation of PantoGraph consists in the representation of the genome as a graph, making genetic differences between different genomes visible directly. This representation can also display metadata such as disease processes or plant characteristics (phenotypes) and sort the genomes by these criteria. This software has many uses: it enables physicians to assess genetic diseases more accurately, and allows plant breeders to readily identify causal markers.

Dr.  Verena Grimm, Project Manager of the BioRegio STERN Management GmbH commented: "Although the fields of medicine and plant breeding seem very different at first glance, they share a common goal: to make the best possible use of information about the genome and phenotype to identify causes of disease.”  In the biohymed project, the Computomics Team is developing a quantification and analysis system as experts in the field of plant research and bioinformatics. Its purpose is the generation and efficient evaluation of phenotypic measurements of large plant populations. This system will be meaningfully extended in cooperation with QBiC through a software tool for the visual presentation and analysis of genetic and phenotypic variations of large human or plant populations.

About Computomics GmbH

Computomics GmbH was founded in 2012 to make machine learning methods accessible to breeders and plant researchers.  Bioinformaticians at Computomics are leveraging the integration of Genomics, Metagenomics and Phenotyping datasets to help customers make data-driven decisions.  Using all available data and natural biodiversity, breeding programs can be accelerated by three to six years, ensuring sustainable agriculture in the face of changing climates.

About QBiC

The Center for Quantitative Biology (QBiC) began work in 2012 as the central institution of the University, the University Hospital and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology Tübingen.  The core tasks of QBiC include the management of large biomedical datasets, their efficient evaluation and the preparation of data for research and clinical use. In particular, the individualization in medicine is increasingly data-driven and requires innovative methods that are developed and provided in Tübingen, among others by QBiC.

German Press Release at BioRegio STERN

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