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J Biomed Inform. 2003 Dec;36(6):478-500.

A reference ontology for biomedical informatics: the Foundational Model of Anatomy.

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Departments of Biological Structure, and Medical Education & Biomedical Informatics, Structural Informatics Group, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


The Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA), initially developed as an enhancement of the anatomical content of UMLS, is a domain ontology of the concepts and relationships that pertain to the structural organization of the human body. It encompasses the material objects from the molecular to the macroscopic levels that constitute the body and associates with them non-material entities (spaces, surfaces, lines, and points) required for describing structural relationships. The disciplined modeling approach employed for the development of the FMA relies on a set of declared principles, high level schemes, Aristotelian definitions and a frame-based authoring environment. We propose the FMA as a reference ontology in biomedical informatics for correlating different views of anatomy, aligning existing and emerging ontologies in bioinformatics ontologies and providing a structure-based template for representing biological functions.

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