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Defining Physiological Age

David Finkelstein finkel at genome.stanford.edu
Thu Nov 4 13:06:23 EST 1999

Hi Everyone,

 Thanks again for the great input, comments and feedback on the AFGC
categories.  Over the next couple of weeks I'd like to focus the discussion
on  particular aspects of these categories.

For example, can anyone think of a better name than "categories" for
this information?

Our goal is a structured list of information that we can design into our
microarray database that will describe plant experiments.  At the moment we
are dealing with the genetic and environmental conditions of the plants
used as source of probe.
We are also encouraged by the number of other groups that are interested
in working together to design a common system.

Todays Topic:

How is plant age defined in a physiological sense?

 Our current thinking, improved by your comments, is that we would require at
 least three fields:

 1) Days after planting

 2) number of leaves and leaf primoridia per plant

 3) developmental stage at harvest:
 		One way this could be done is with a
  		pop-up menu from a short list of broad categories:
 			seedling  (cotyledons still attached)
		        other (text field)

 Once again please feel free to comment/critique our categories.
 The developing list is at afgc.stanford.edu/categories.pdf

One more important point is in the implementation of required categories.
Any "required" field obligates an experimenter to provide information.
So we have to consider whether required information is always available.
Also, how many different ways can the question be understood?  If our
wording is open to several interpretation we may frustrate the experimenter.
The reason to have required fields is to allow searching.  If a field is
required, but not well defined, the collected information will vary and
reduce the value of the search.  Thus the need for pop-up menus and well
defined input boxes.


 David Finkelstein, Ph.D.
 Post-doc in Bioinformatics
 Carnegie Institute of Washington
 Stanford, CA 94305

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