The primary mission of the Alliance of Genome Resources (AGR, or the Alliance) is to develop and maintain sustainable genome information resources that facilitate the use of diverse model organisms in understanding the genetic and genomic basis of human biology, health and disease. This understanding is fundamental for advancing genome biology research and for translating human genome data into clinical utility.
The unified AGR information system will represent the union of the data and information represented in the current individual MODs rather than the intersection, and thus provide the best of each in one place while maintaining community integrity and preserving the unique aspects of each model organism. By working together we can be more comprehensive and efficient, and hence more sustainable.
Through the implementation of a shared, modular information system architecture the AGR seeks to serve diverse user communities including (i) human geneticists who want access to all model organism data for orthologous human genes; (ii) basic science researchers who use specific model organisms to understand fundamental biology; (iii) computational biologists and data scientists who need access to standardized, well-structured data, both big and small; and (iv) educators and students.
Community genome resources such as the Model Organism Databases and the Gene Ontology consortium have developed high quality resources enabling cost and time effective information retrieval and aggregation that would otherwise require countless hours to achieve. Regardless of their success and utility, there remain challenges to using and sustaining MODs. Searching across multiple model organism database resources remains a barrier to realizing the full impact of these resources in advancing genome biology and genomic medicine. In addition, despite a growing need for MODs by the biomedical research community as well as the increasing volumes of data and publications, the financial resources available to sustain MODs and related information resources are being reduced. We believe that one contribution to solving these challenges while continuing to serve our diverse user communities is to unify our efforts. To this end, six MODs (Saccharomyces Genome Database, WormBase, FlyBase, Zebrafish Information Network, Mouse Genome Database, Rat Genome Database, and the Gene Ontology) project joined together in the fall of 2016 to form the Alliance of Genome Resources (AGR) consortium.