Gene Ontology: Looking backwards and forwards

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, 539 Life Sciences Addition, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200, USA.
Genome biology (Impact Factor: 10.81). 02/2005; 6(1):103. DOI: 10.1186/gb-2004-6-1-103
Source: PubMed


The Gene Ontology consortium began six years ago with a group of scientists who decided to connect our data by sharing the same language for describing it. Its most significant achievement lies in uniting many independent biological database efforts into a cooperative force.

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Available from: Suzanna Elaine Lewis
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    • "Limited as these axes may seem, the work has had a tremendous impact on the analysis of the many different genome scale data types, and new analysis approaches based on ontological descriptions continue to be developed. However , initially GO was developed non-formally and eventually the need to formalise it became obvious [27] [28] [29]. "
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    • "Bio-ontologies may be used for other endeavours, such as for instance managing and accessing data in the first place (that is, even before they are circulated beyond the laboratory where they are originally produced). 3 The Gene Ontology, as many within the OBO Consortium, is specifically devoted to representing the biological knowledge underlying the reuse of data within new research contexts: in other words, it defines the ontology that researchers need to share to successfully draw new inferences from existing data sets (Ashburner et al. 2000; Lewis 2004; Renear and Palmer 2009). At the same time, the Gene Ontology is constantly modified depending on the state of research and the interests of their users, and the mechanisms through which it is updated make this bio-ontology particularly helpful in disseminating data for the purpose of discovery (Leonelli et al. 2011). "
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    • "Thus, a key challenge for the long-term maintenance of GO consists of updating its contents to reflect new scientific developments that challenge established biological knowledge [3]. GO curators have been aware of this since the creation of GO [4] and have sought to establish mechanisms of feedback, so that users of GO could alert curators to any discrepancy between the understanding of given entities or processes routinely used within their own fields and the representation of that knowledge provided in the ontology [5]. Indeed, the capability of bio-ontologies such as GO to reflect new developments as they arise has been highlighted as key to their increasing popularity [6,7]. "
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