MindMapping OMIM Files with BioGroovy

Several years ago a friend of mine introduced me to mindmaps as a tool for helping people visualize and link concepts (see below). The Online Mendelian Inheritance In Man (OMIM) database, created by Johns Hopkins University contains information on the genetic origins of diseases.  It gives scientists a good overview of a disease and often serves as a starting point for further research. In this BioGroovy hack, I’ll show you how to create a simple script to convert an OMIM record into a mindmap.  You’ll need to download and install FreeMind in order to visualize the results.

The script itself is rather simple (albeit longwinded).  It downloads and parses an OMIM XML record, and then uses a series of GPath expressions to parse out the interesting bits of the record and put the results into an output file (in this case “omim2.mm”).  Once you’ve run the script, open the output file with FreeMind.  Clicking on any of the nodes will fire up a browser and display the results.  For a bit of added fun, you can export the results as a Flash site and explore it with your browser.  You can also publish the Flash site to a website and share it with your colleagues.

def omim = new

// GPath definitions
def title = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_title'.text()
def main_text = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_text'.'Mim-text'.'Mim-text_text'.text()
def omimLink = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_mimNumber'.text()
def symbolList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_symbol'.text().split(",")
def pmidList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_text'.'Mim-text'.'Mim-text_neighbors'.'Mim-link'.'Mim-link_uids'.text().split(",")
def textFieldList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_textfields'.'Mim-text'
def nucList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_nucleotideLinks'.'Mim-link'.'Mim-link_uids'.text().split(",")
def protList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_proteinLinks'.'Mim-link'.'Mim-link_uids'.text().split(",")
def refList = omim.'Mim-entry'.'Mim-entry_references'.'Mim-reference'

// URL definitions
def entrezgeneUrl = "";
def pubmedUrl = "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?holding=&db=pubmed&cmd=search&term="
def omimUrl = "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id="
def nucUrl = "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nucleotide/"
def protUrl = "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/"

FileOutputStream out = new FileOutputStream(new File('omim2.mm'));
out << '<?xml version="1.0"?>\n'
out << '<map>\n'
out << "<node text=\"${title}\" link='${omimUrl}${omimLink}'>\n"

// handle description
<< "<richcontent

// handle Gene Symbol Nodes
out << '<node text="genes" position=\"left\">'

 out << "<node text=\"${it.trim()}\"
out << '</node>'

// handle references
out << '<node text="References" folded="true">'
refList.each(){node ->
    def citTitle = node.'Mim-reference_citationTitle'.text();
    def uid = node.'Mim-reference_pubmedUID'.text()

    out << "<node text=\"${citTitle}\" link=\"${pubmedUrl}${uid}\"/>"
out << '</node>'

// handle TEXT nodes
    def reftitle = it.'Mim-text_label'.text();
    def text = it.'Mim-text_text'.text()
    out << "<node text=\"${reftitle}\" folded=\"true\">"

 out << "<richcontent

    def uids = it.'Mim-text_neighbors'.'Mim-link'.'Mim-link_uids'.text().split(",")

    uids.each(){pmid ->
        if (pmid != ""){
        out << "<node text=\"${pmid}\" link=\"${pubmedUrl}${pmid}\"/>"

    out << "</node>"

// handle nucleotide links
out << "<node text=\"Nucleotides\" position=\"left\">"
    out << "<node text=\"${it}\" link=\"${nucUrl}${it}\"/>"

out << "</node>"

// handle protein links
out << "<node text=\"Proteins\" position=\"left\">"
    out << "<node text=\"${it}\" link=\"${protUrl}${it}\"/>"

out << "</node>"out << '</node></map>'

About Mark Fortner

I write software for scientists doing drug discovery and cancer research. I'm interested in Design Thinking, Agile Software Development, Web Components, Java, Javascript, Groovy, Grails, MongoDB, Firebase, microservices, the Semantic Web Drug Discovery and Cancer Biology.
This entry was posted in Informatics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to MindMapping OMIM Files with BioGroovy

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for creating such a great tool. I am looking forward to producing some interesting mindmaps.
    I am not experienced with groovy though, so I expect a steep learning curve. Could you please help me figure out why I don’t get the finished output file. I downloaded groovy and ran your script but I don’t find an omim2.mm output file anywhere.

    I replaced ‘Mim-entry” by a know disease name, is that correct, or should I enter an ID number?

    Thank you,


    • aspenbio says:

      The script uses an OMIM ID as a parameter in the URL in line 2. You can replace the “id” parameter with any other disease and it should create a mindmap file for you. The output file should be located in the same directory as the script.

  2. my site says:

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

  3. Hi, I would like to subscribe for this website to take most up-to-date updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s