A user-friendly, web-based application for the management of molecular anthropology data.
Molecular anthropology samples and data
The “BiBi – Biodiversity and Bioinformatics” strategic project of the University of Bologna was aimed to collect and organize molecular anthropology samples and data. One of the specific goals was “the design, the implementation, the test and maintenance of a data base useful for theoretical studies”.
To that end we developed HaPlone, a web-based application built on top of the Plone content management system. The application allows to store, inspect, search and retrieve data through the familiar interface of a standard web browser.
Data are stored in the "Subject" data structure, containing both personal and molecular data, that can be inserted, inspected and edited using a user-friendly interface. For each subject, the application calculates on-the-fly the haplogroup, based on its tested UEPs, as well as the most recent common ancestor for each sexual lineage, based on the stored population.
The system also takes care of checking data consistency and flags the user for potential errors, such as inconsistent or conflicting UEPs or out-of-range STRs within a given subject.
Population subsets can be easily selected (by location, haplogroup, sex, MRCA) using simple query forms, whose reports also provide basic statistics and charts on the selected sets. Furthermore selected subject data can be readily exported to CSV files for processing by other applications such as spreadsheets or statistical packages.
By leveraging on Plone access-control features, the application can handle selective access to stored data, allowing fine-grained control on what it can be accessed by an anonymous vs an authenticated user, so it can be used both for internal information sharing and data dissemination simultaneously. Currently the prototype handles only Y-chromosome molecular data (UEPs and STRs), but work is planned to extend data handling to mtDNA data too.
A short presentation of HaPlone is available on SlideShare.