International Mammalian Genome Society

The 14th International Mouse Genome Conference (2000)


D3. The Mouse Genome Database (MGD) GOes: adding functional annotations to genes

Janan T. Eppig, David P. Hill, Joel E. Richardson, Martin Ringwald, and Judith A. Blake
The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA.

The Gene Ontology (GO) consortium (http://www.geneontology.org), initially formed by the mouse, yeast, and fly database groups, is developing three structured vocabularies (ontologies) for molecular function, biological process, and cellular location of genes and gene products. Each ontology term includes a definition and attribution, to insure common understanding and application of terminology. Terms hold parent-child relationships to allow annotations of genes to the greatest current level of knowledge (e.g., serine/threonine kinase is a more specific example of kinase).

MGD (http://www.informatics.jax.org), SGD, and FlyBase are each implementing GO within their respective databases. There, GO terms are associated with genes by domain knowledgeable curators, with evidence statements and references supporting the annotations; and software is developed to allow user access and querying. A common repository, to which each contributing database deposits its annotations, is also being developed to maintain and manage the GO vocabularies themselves and to provide user querying of GO across multiple model organism databases.

Much interest in GO has developed in other biological communities. The C. elegans and Arabidopsis communities are beginning to participate in GO, and a number of commercial groups have expressed interested in applying GO to their work. The current status of GO, consortium activities, and its application to MGD will be presented.

MGD is supported by NIH grant HG00330.


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