InterMineR package

InterMine data can be accessed via command line programs like cURL and client libraries for five programming languages (Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Ruby.) Aiming to expand the functionality of InterMine framework, an R package, InterMineR, had been started that provided basic access to InterMine instances through the R programming environment. (You could run template queries, but not much else!)

However, in order to fully utilize the statistical and graphical capabilities of the R language and make the InterMine framework available to an even greater number of life scientists, the goals were set to:

  1. Further develop and publish the InterMineR package to Bioconductor, a widely used, open source software project based in R, which aims to facilitate the integrative analysis of biological data derived from high-throughput assays.
  2. Add visualisation capabilities, e.g. “What features are close to my feature of interest?”
  3. Add enrichment analysis in InterMineR, a feature that will provide R users with access to the InterMine enrichment analysis widgets and can be effectively combined with the graphical capabilities of R libraries.

InterMineR performs a call to the InterMine Registry to retrieve up-to-date information about the available Mines. The information retrieved are then used to connect the Mines with the R environment using the InterMine web services.


The InterMineR package can be used to perform complicated queries on a Mine. The process is facilitated by the retrieval of the data model and the ready-to-use template queries of the respective Mine. The R functions setConstraints and setQuery have been created along with the formal class InterMineR, to create new or modify existing queries, store them as Intermine-class objects and apply them to the Mine with the runQuery method.

Genomic Coordinates


Figure 1: Gene visualisation done via InterMineR AND GVIZ

InterMineR can retrieve genomic coordinates and gene expression analysis data which can be converted to:

with the R functions convertToGRanges and convertToRangedSummarizedExperiment respectively. This way an interaction layer between InterMineR and other Bioconductor packages (e.g. GenomicRanges and SummarizedExperiment) is established, allowing for rapid analysis of the retrieved InterMine data.

Enrichment + GeneAnswers

InterMineR also retrieves InterMine enrichment widgets and facilitates the enrichment analysis on an InterMine instance using the R functions getWidgets and doEnrichment, respectively. With the usage of the R function convertToGeneAnswers the results of the enrichment analysis are converted to a GeneAnswers-class object, therefore allowing the visualization of:

  • Pie charts
  • Bar plots
  • Concept-gene networks
  • Annotation category (e.g. GO terms, KEGG pathways) – interaction networks
  • Gene interaction networks

by using R functions from the GeneAnswers R package.


Figure 2: GeneAnswers GO structure network, generated via InterMineR


Figure 3: GeneAnswers gene network generated using InterMineR

Final steps: Bioconductor & Vignettes

The updated InterMineR package complies to the instructions for submitting new packages to Bioconductor, has passed all automated checks (R CMD build, check and BiocCheck) and is currently under the process of manual review for Bioconductor submission.

Documentation of each function along with examples of its usage are available in the GitHub repo and as help files upon the installation of the package. Furthermore, a detailed vignette and tutorials concerning the new functionality of InterMineR package are currently available at the intermine/InterMineR/vignettes folder of the GitHub dev branch, and will be shortly available on the GitHub master branch as well.

This project is part of Google Summer of Code, still under development by me, Konstantinos Kyritsis, PhD student at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, under the mentoring of Julie Sullivan and Rachel Lyne. The GitHub repository of the InterMineR package can be found at

Commits made my Konstantinos can be found here:


GSoC final month: testing, wrapping up, and live demos

We’re in to the final stretch of the three month Google Summer of Code period, and results are coming through thick and fast.

On August the 17th at 5PM UK time (you can check when it is in your local timezone) we’ll be doing short presentations for each of the projects as part of our community call – around 5 minutes per project. Come join in and see the great work our students have been doing!

Here’s a quick summary of projects to date:

InterMine Registry: The registry is up and running! You can view all known instances of InterMine in the registry front end, or browse the API docs to learn more about programmatic access. Tip: like the logos you see? Add yours with these handy tips from Julie in an earlier post.

Snapshot of the registry front-end UI.

Leonardo also wrote a great blog post about his work on the registry.

InterMine iOS app: Several members of the InterMine community signed up to provide beta testing while the app was under development. Nadia’s been doing some great work on this – users can now use keyword search across multiple InterMines, browse templates, lists, and create sets of “favourite” InterMine objects – perhaps building up a literature search for future use. It also loads its mine list straight from the registry! Expect it in the app store soon.

Similarity Project: Samyadeep wrote up an in-depth technical project on the InterMine object similarity engine he’s been working on, using FlyMine sample data in Neo4J.

Neo4j: Yash will be demoing his InterMine Query <—>Cypher work on the call, or in the meantime, you can check out his blog posts on the subject.

R: Konstantinos updated our InterMine R client library to include new features such as enrichment visualisation – expect a blog post about it soon! It’s under review in Bioconductor but you can use the library now directly from GitHub.


InterMine community roundup: June 2017

Here are some of the exciting things that have been happening in the InterMine community recently:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed including students and their mentors. You guys are awesome!

excited Kermit via GIPHY

Have you done anything exciting with InterMine lately? email info [at] intermine [dot] org, tweet us at @intermineorg, or pop into to tell us about it… we’d love to feature you in a future round-up!

Cool InterMine features roundup

I’ve said this before, but I’ll proudly say it again: one of the greatest things about being open source is the community. People are continually creative and resourceful with the tools we’ve built, and we love seeing all the different things you guys do with InterMine. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the things we’ve seen so far this year:

TargetMine’s Auxiliary Toolkit

TargetMine’s Auxiliary toolkit offers advanced analysis for networks and enrichment

TargetMine links out from report pages to provide external enrichment and interaction tools. Read more about it here, or  browse the tutorials: [Enrichment] [Interaction Network].

The Beany Mines:

The beany mines (Soy, Peanut, Legume, and Bean) recently added a shared motif search, as well as a couple of other great visualisations:legume-shared-motif-search


R and SOLR

Colin of HymenopteraMine and BovineMine did a great blog post about using our R client, InterMineR, and then continued to impress by making efforts to upgrade InterMine to use Solr.


Ever wondered what Model Organism Linked Data might look like?  MOLD includes a queryable SPARQL endpoint and draws from multiple different InterMines to create a single dataset.


Tip: Make it generic

Generic tools are ones that aren’t hard-coded to a specific Mine or model. We’re always on the look out for new and exciting features, whether it’s a visualisation or a web service or a database tweak. If you think it’s good, you can email us to discuss it or simply create a pull request, and bask in glory forever after.

We’d love to see more!

This list is awesome (thanks everyone!!) but by no means conclusive. If you think we’ve missed something out, or you’re doing something new at the moment, drop us a line and we’ll add you to the next round up. We’d also love to hear from others who might be interested in guest-blogging an InterMine related feature.