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Gene Ontology Consortium

We are leaders in the application of ontologies to aid communication between biologists and bioinformatic resources.  The Cherry lab was a founding member of GO in 1998 in collaboration with FlyBase and MGI.  The GO Consortium created a standard language to describe protein and RNA function.  The GOC focuses on developing curation processes, defining consistency and reproducibility of annotation, and education on the use and application of the ontologies and annotations.  The GO collaboration has developed and continues to enhance three orthogonal ontologies that are used for gene product annotation and used by all bioinformatic resources.  The three aspects of the GO are Biological Process, Molecular Function and Cellular Component.  These ontologies define a vocabulary that is essential for the unification of biological nomenclature.  GO vocabularies have been adopted by all biological resources and the larger scientific community.  GO has thus become the standard for descriptive molecular function annotation and is used ubiquitously in biological research.

GO annotations, the association of the GO vocabulary to describe experimental results, have become essential for the analysis of genomic results and therefore they must be current and accurate.  A challenge we face is the determination of quality and accuracy for the annotations.  SGD as part of the GOC continues to explore methods of scanning the literature to determine the reproducibility of a specific result.  Reproducibility is the true measure of the quality of a scientific result.  Once a result has been ascertained multiple times with more than one method its certainty can be inferred to be high.  A challenge for our community is the use of reproducibility as a measure of the annotations that compose gold standard datasets.

Funding is provided from the US National Institutes of Health, National Human Genome Research Institute via grant U24 HG02273.

Gene Ontology Consortium