The ontology of the Gene Ontology

In AMIA 2003 Symposium Proceedings. Washington, DC: AMIA. pp. 609-613 (2003)
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The rapidly increasing wealth of genomic data has driven the development of tools to assist in the task of representing and processing information about genes, their products and their functions. One of the most important of these tools is the Gene Ontology (GO), which is being developed in tandem with work on a variety of bioinformatics databases. An examination of the structure of GO, however, reveals a number of problems, which we believe can be resolved by taking account of certain organizing principles drawn from philosophical ontology. We shall explore the results of applying such principles to GO with a view to improving GO’s consistency and coherence and thus its future applicability in the automated processing of biological data.

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Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo


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