Single-molecule dataset (SMD): a generalized storage format for raw and processed single-molecule data

Greenfeld, Max; van de Meent, Jan-Willem; Pavlichin, Dmitri S.; Mabuchi, Hideo; Wiggins, Chris H.; Gonzalez Jr., Ruben L.; Herschlag, Daniel

Background: Single-molecule techniques have emerged as incisive approaches for addressing a wide range of questions arising in contemporary biological research [Trends Biochem Sci 38:30–37, 2013; Nat Rev Genet 14:9–22, 2013; Curr Opin Struct Biol 2014, 28C:112–121; Annu Rev Biophys 43:19–39, 2014]. The analysis and interpretation of
raw single-molecule data benefits greatly from the ongoing development of sophisticated statistical analysis tools that enable accurate inference at the low signal-to-noise ratios frequently associated with these measurements. While a number of groups have released analysis toolkits as open source software [J Phys Chem B 114:5386–5403, 2010; Biophys J 79:1915–1927, 2000; Biophys J 91:1941–1951, 2006; Biophys J 79:1928–1944, 2000; Biophys J 86:4015–4029, 2004; Biophys J 97:3196–3205, 2009; PLoS One 7:e30024, 2012; BMC Bioinformatics 288 11(8):S2, 2010; Biophys J 106:1327–1337, 2014; Proc Int Conf Mach Learn 28:361–369, 2013], it remains difficult to compare analysis for experiments performed in different labs due to a lack of standardization. Results: Here we propose a standardized single-molecule dataset (SMD) file format. SMD is designed to accommodate a wide variety of computer programming languages, single-molecule techniques, and analysis strategies. To facilitate adoption of this format we have made two existing data analysis packages that are used for single-molecule analysis compatible with this format. Conclusion: Adoption of a common, standard data file format for sharing raw single-molecule data and analysis outcomes is a critical step for the emerging and powerful single-molecule field, which will benefit both sophisticated users and non-specialists by allowing standardized, transparent, and reproducible analysis practices.


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BMC Bioinformatics

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Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
BioMed Central
Published Here
July 31, 2015