Plants from a handful of species provide the primary source of food for all people, yet this source is vulnerable to multiple stressors, such as disease, drought, and nutrient deficiency. With rapid population growth and climate uncertainty, the need to produce crops that can tolerate or resist plant stressors is more crucial than ever. Traditional plant breeding methods may not be sufficient to overcome this chal–- lenge, and methods such as high–-throughput sequencing and automat–- ed scoring of phenotypes can provide significant new insights. Ontolo–- gies are essential tools for accessing and analysing the large quantities of data that come with these newer methods. As part of a larger project to develop ontologies that describe plant phenotypes and stresses, we are developing a plant disease extension of the Infectious Disease On–- tology (IDOPlant). The IDOPlant is envisioned as a reference ontology designed to cover any plant infectious disease. In addition to novel terms for infectious diseases, IDOPlant includes terms imported from other ontologies that describe plants, pathogens, and vectors, the geo–- graphic location and ecology of diseases and hosts, and molecular func–- tions and interactions of hosts and pathogens. To encompass this range of data, we are suggesting in–-house ontology development comple–- mented with reuse of terms from orthogonal ontologies developed as part of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry. The study of plant diseases provides an example of how an ontological framework can be used to model complex biological phenomena such as plant disease, and how plant infectious diseases differ from, and are similar to, infectious diseases in other organism.

Year of Publication
Conference Name
International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO-2012)
Date Published
July 2012
CEUR Workshop Proceedings
Conference Location
Graz, Austria
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