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An open source platform for analyzing and sharing worm behavior data

By Avelino Javer, Michael Currie, Chee Wai Lee, Jim Hokanson, Kezhi Li, Céline N Martineau, Eviatar Yemini, Laura J Grundy, Chris Li, QueeLim Ch’ng, William R Schafer, Ellen A.A. Nollen, Rex Kerr, André E.X. Brown

Posted 26 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/377960 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41592-018-0112-1)

Animal behavior is increasingly being recorded in systematic imaging studies that generate large data sets. To maximize the usefulness of these data there is a need for improved resources for analyzing and sharing behavior data that will encourage re-analysis and method development by computational scientists. However, unlike genomic or protein structural data, there are no widely used standards for behavior data. It is therefore desirable to make the data available in a relatively raw form so that different investigators can use their own representations and derive their own features. For computational ethology to approach the level of maturity of other areas of bioinformatics, we need to address at least three challenges: storing and accessing video files, defining flexible data formats to facilitate data sharing, and making software to read, write, browse, and analyze the data. We have developed an open resource to begin addressing these challenges using worm tracking as a model.

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