AgeFactDB is an abstraction layer built on top of other published databases relevant to aging. One of the benefits of open access science is that people can far more easily work on better ways to present and analyze research results: it enables a faster process of evolution towards ever more useful tools. In this the scientific community is catching up but still years behind the open source software world, held back by a culture of restricted access to information that has only comparatively recently started to give way to the much more sensible ideal of open access.
The JenAge Ageing Factor Database AgeFactDB is aimed at the collection and integration of ageing-related data. In a first step it combines data from existing databases with age-related information, such as the Lifespan Observations Database and the GenAge Database. Information from further data sources will be included step by step. Value will be added to these data in several ways. One example is the consistent usage of synonyms for gene and protein names. In addition, new ageing-related information will be included both by manual and automatic information extraction from the scientific literature.
Ageing factors include genes, chemical compounds and other factors such as dietary restriction or overfeeding, heat shock, low temperature and so on whose action results in a changed lifespan or another ageing phenotype. Information related to the effect of ageing factors on life span and/or ageing phenotype is called an observation and is presented in the database on observation pages. To provide an easy and compact access to the complete information for a particular gene or a specific compound or for one of the other factors the corresponding observations are also summarised on ageing factor pages.
Based on a comprehensive homology analysis, AgeFactDB provides, in addition to known ageing-related genes, a compilation of genes that are homologous to these known genes. These homologs can be considered as candidate or putative ageing-related genes.