Gene Ontology annotations: what they mean and where they come from.

Document Type


Publication Date



Artificial-Intelligence, Computational-Biology, Database-Management-Systems, Databases-Genetic, Genomics, Humans, Models-Biological, Pattern-Recognition-Automated, Semantics, Systems-Integration, User-Computer-Interface, Vocabulary-Controlled

JAX Source

BMC Bioinformatics 2008; 9(Suppl 5):S2.


To address the challenges of information integration and retrieval, the computational genomics community increasingly has come to rely on the methodology of creating annotations of scientific literature using terms from controlled structured vocabularies such as the Gene Ontology (GO). Here we address the question of what such annotations signify and of how they are created by working biologists. Our goal is to promote a better understanding of how the results of experiments are captured in annotations, in the hope that this will lead both to better representations of biological reality through annotation and ontology development and to more informed use of GO resources by experimental scientists.