Have you ever found yourself looking for an average number regarding a biological organism or a biological process like the total cell volume of an E. coli cell or the diffusion rate of a certain protein? I certainly have, and sometimes it is just a pain to find such values.
It seems that three fellows, Ron Milo, Paul Jorgensen and Mike Springer from the Systems Biology department at Harvard, decided to start compiling data related to the numbers in biological research and came up with what they call BioNumbers, a database of useful biological numbers. Brilliant!
At the moment, the data is available via a Google Spreadsheet document which doesn’t really provide proper navigation but I suspect that there are plans to change this as the database grows. There are already some ideas in the pipeline:
- The comparative tables builder: you will be able to choose your properties and and organisms of interest and get a table comparing the values. We hope this will make comparative studies much easier, and will lead to new insights into quantitative design principles. Blanks will denote where we need more data.
- The comperaVisulaizer: a graphical interface that will visualize values for different organisms and different properties that share the same units. Kind of like the scale of lengths showing the progression from molecules to galaxies.
This project is open to anyone that would like to participate. If you happen to know about a useful biological number that isn’t yet in the database, feel free to contribute by sending in your info using the following format.
For more information, please visit BioNumbers at OWW.