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The Gene Ontology project

Part 4. Bioinformatics

4.7. Structuring and Integrating Data

Specialist Review

  1. Midori A. Harris,
  2. Jane Lomax,
  3. Amelia Ireland,
  4. Jennifer I. Clark

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g408202

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Harris, M. A., Lomax, J., Ireland, A. and Clark, J. I. 2005. The Gene Ontology project. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 4:4.7:82.

Author Information

  1. The European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


The main goal of the Gene Ontology (GO) project is to support the construction and use of structured, controlled vocabularies to address the growing need for meaningful annotation of genes and their products in different organisms. There are three key aspects of the GO project: the development of dynamic, controlled vocabularies that can be applied to all organisms even as knowledge of the roles of gene products is accumulating and changing; the application of GO terms in annotating genes or gene products; and the development and maintenance of databases and software for querying, displaying, and manipulating ontologies and associated annotation sets. The GO vocabularies are four nonoverlapping, structured networks of terms that describe key aspects of biology. Molecular function describes the activities or tasks performed by individual gene products at the molecular level; biological process describes broad biological goals that are accomplished by ordered assemblies of molecular functions; cellular component encompasses subcellular structures, locations, and macromolecular complexes; sequence ontology includes genome feature terms. The GO project's resources are available to the public at


  • ontology;
  • annotation;
  • database;
  • model organism;
  • function;
  • process;
  • component;
  • controlled vocabulary