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Novartis Found Symp. 2002;247:66-80; discussion 80-3, 84-90, 244-52.

On ontologies for biologists: the Gene Ontology--untangling the web.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge and EMBL--European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.


The mantra of the 'post-genomic' era is 'gene function'. Yet surprisingly little attention has been given to how functional and other information concerning genes is to be captured, made accessible to biologists or structured in a computable form. The aim of the Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium is to provide a framework for both the description and the organisation of such information. The GO Consortium is presently concerned with three structured controlled vocabularies which can be used to describe three discrete biological domains, building structured vocabularies which can be used to describe the molecular function, biological roles and cellular locations of gene products.

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