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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Jan 8;47(D1):D1186-D1194. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1036.

ECO, the Evidence & Conclusion Ontology: community standard for evidence information.

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Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.
Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA.
Molecular Ecosystems Biology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


The Evidence and Conclusion Ontology (ECO) contains terms (classes) that describe types of evidence and assertion methods. ECO terms are used in the process of biocuration to capture the evidence that supports biological assertions (e.g. gene product X has function Y as supported by evidence Z). Capture of this information allows tracking of annotation provenance, establishment of quality control measures and query of evidence. ECO contains over 1500 terms and is in use by many leading biological resources including the Gene Ontology, UniProt and several model organism databases. ECO is continually being expanded and revised based on the needs of the biocuration community. The ontology is freely available for download from GitHub ( or the project's website ( Users can request new terms or changes to existing terms through the project's GitHub site. ECO is released into the public domain under CC0 1.0 Universal.

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