App Solves Data Management and Sharing Issues in Synthetic Biology Labs
Researchers from the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), an NSF-funded center headquartered at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, have made final updates to a smartphone-like app for standardizing and managing biological data from one lab to the next. Clotho 3.0 is the final update for a software environment that links large databases of biological data to user-created “apps” through a common interface.
Clotho is a data management platform for synthetic biology which removes the burden of data archive and relationship creation with the introduction of a remote, flexible, persistent storage mechanism coupled to a robust Application Programming Interface (API). This ecosystem allows for the development of web applications that can manipulate synthetic biology design data locally or via server side scripting engines. Clotho can now “power” websites by handling all server side data management and manipulation.
Underpinning Clotho is a data model specifically designed to describe how biological parts will behave when combined in new ways, a key goal of synthetic biology. Apps can be used together to create customized design processes, ranging from high level specification of biological functionality all the way down to basic sample tracking and laboratory management.
Clotho can support a number of online tools used by researchers and offers educational content via the SynBioTrails website. In November 2014, Clotho was a featured tool at the 1st Outreach Workshop on BioDesign Automation (OWBDA), held in conjunction with the 2014 iGEM Giant Jamboree. Clotho is housed and maintained in 2015 by the Nona Research Foundation and is now publically available as an open source project to the entire community.