Reasoning over anatomical homology in the Phenoscape KB
The Phenoscape project (www.phenoscape.org) has semantically annotated the features of species from the comparative literature, enabling links between candidate genes and novel species phenotypes for which they might be responsible. To enable discovery of homologous phenotypes and associated genes, we incorporated machine-reasoning with knowledge about homology into the Phenoscape Knowledgebase (KB). We show that with homology reasoning enabled, the results of database queries can be expanded to incorporate shared evolutionary history. We discuss the challenges in developing a logical model of homology assertions and implications for database queries, as well as theoretical entailment and practical performance tradeoffs between alternative models.