The goal of the visualization working group is the generation, adaptation, and integration of visualization tools capable of displaying diverse types of data from laboratory, field, in silico analyses and simulations, and other sources specific to genotype-to-phenotype research. The displays are to be designed in ways that reveal underlying patterns, lead to novel hypotheses, provide concise syntheses, and support publication, collaborations, education, and other forms of dissemination (web, podcast, etc.).
A concrete example might be a tool where one could paint either static or dynamic metabolic and gene expression data on to pathways or networks, easily gather comparative genomic information about the gene(s) involved, including both an identification of homologs in other species, and also any phenotypic information available, including ecophysiological or environmental data. In addition, we imagine being able to readily link a gene or genes of interest to relevant transcription factors or signaling molecules. Understanding how genes determine phenotypes in nonconstant environments leads directly to a need to display genotype/phenotype data as multi-coordinate plots such as geographic maps or higher dimensional visualizations of multivariate statistical analyses.
It is also important that visualization tools developed within the genotype to phenotype project leverage developments in other iPlant Grand Challenge support efforts. As examples, (a) comparative functional genomic visualization tools could greatly benefit from the ability to interact with the types of phylogenetic tree navigation and display being developed as part of iPlant's Tree of Life project and (b) data integration efforts in all Grand Challenges would be aided by the ability to visualize the organizational relationships between different data sets..