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Integrating heterogeneous data across distributed sources is a major requirement for in silico bioinformatics supporting translational research. For example, genome-scale data on patterns of gene expression in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster are widely used in functional genomic studies in many organisms to inform candidate gene selection and validate experimental results. However, current data integration solutions tend to be heavyweight, and require significant initial and ongoing investment of effort. Development of a common Web-based data integration infrastructure (a.k.a. data web), using Semantic Web standards, promises to alleviate these difficulties, but little is known about the feasibility, costs, risks or practical means of migrating to such an infrastructure.
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