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Bioinformatics. 1999 Dec;15(12):1047-54.

Ontology for immunogenetics: the IMGT-ONTOLOGY.

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Laboratoire d'ImmunoGénétique Moléculaire, UPR CNRS 1142, Institut de Génétique Humaine, Montpellier, France.


IMGT, the international ImMunoGeneTics database (, created by M.-P. Lefranc, is an integrated database specializing in antigen receptors (immunoglobulins and T-cell receptors) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) of all vertebrate species. IMGT accurate immunogenetics data are based on the standardization of the biological knowledge provided by the 'ImMunoGeneTics' IMGT-ONTOLOGY. The IMGT-ONTOLOGY describes the classification and specification of terms needed for immunogenetics and bioinformatics. IMGT-ONTOLOGY covers four main concepts: 'IDENTIFICATION', 'DESCRIPTION', 'CLASSIFICATION' and 'OBTENTION'. These concepts allow an extensive and standardized description and characterization of immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor data. The controlled vocabulary and the annotation rules are indispensable to ensure accuracy, consistency and coherence in IMGT. IMGT-ONTOLOGY allows scientists and clinicians to use, for the first time, identical terms with the same meaning in immunogenetics. It provides a semantic repository that will improve interoperability between specialist and generalist databases.

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