Should evidence be a part of the database, or should evidence be stored separately? Should the database facilitate access to evidence?
In IgPdb, we try to provide access to evidence of the existence of inferred alleles, but we only provide a taste. So for example, a study may have generated hundreds or thousands of alignments that point to the existence of a particular new allele. We might provide a small set of sequences that highlight the fact that the putative polymorphism has been seen in association with diverse D genes and J genes. In some cases we might further show that the sequence has been seen in more than one individual. In other cases we have shown that the same sequence has been inferred in studies from more than one laboratory.
There was a particular need for IgPdb to have associated evidence. As it has functioned as a site for the deposition of sequences that IMGT would not accept, we have been saying: “So you don’t believe us? Well here is the evidence.”
If we can establish a datbase that is accepted as having the general backing of the AIRR community, then the need for linked evidence is different. If a nomenclature committee was deciding on the existence or otherwise of particular alleles, then presumably they would have a database of evidence, and a record of decision making.
Nevertheless, it is worth pondering the place of evidence as we comment on Erick’s post.