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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Jan;42(Database issue):D966-74. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1026. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

The Human Phenotype Ontology project: linking molecular biology and disease through phenotype data.

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Institute for Medical Genetics and Human Genetics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany, Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mail Stop 84R0171, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire CB10 1SA, UK, Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge University Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK, Université Paul Sabatier, Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, CHU Toulouse, France, Centre for Genomic Medicine, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre (MAHSC), Manchester, UK, Centre for Genomic Medicine, Institute of Human Development, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, MAHSC, Manchester M13 9WL, UK, Institute of Genetic Medicine. Newcastle University, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3BZ, UK, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Centre for Computational Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Department of Clinical Genetics, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS2 9NS, UK, MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetic and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA, Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium, Department of Neuropediatrics, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Campus, 24105 Kiel, Germany, NE Thames Genetics Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London WC1N 3JH, UK, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA, Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge and NHS Blood and Transplant Cambridge, CB2 0PT Cambridge, UK, Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute, Geisinger Health System


The Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) project, available at, provides a structured, comprehensive and well-defined set of 10,088 classes (terms) describing human phenotypic abnormalities and 13,326 subclass relations between the HPO classes. In addition we have developed logical definitions for 46% of all HPO classes using terms from ontologies for anatomy, cell types, function, embryology, pathology and other domains. This allows interoperability with several resources, especially those containing phenotype information on model organisms such as mouse and zebrafish. Here we describe the updated HPO database, which provides annotations of 7,278 human hereditary syndromes listed in OMIM, Orphanet and DECIPHER to classes of the HPO. Various meta-attributes such as frequency, references and negations are associated with each annotation. Several large-scale projects worldwide utilize the HPO for describing phenotype information in their datasets. We have therefore generated equivalence mappings to other phenotype vocabularies such as LDDB, Orphanet, MedDRA, UMLS and phenoDB, allowing integration of existing datasets and interoperability with multiple biomedical resources. We have created various ways to access the HPO database content using flat files, a MySQL database, and Web-based tools. All data and documentation on the HPO project can be found online.

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