The Gene Ontology Project

The Gene Ontology (GO) project is a major bioinformatics initiative to develop a computational representation of our evolving knowledge of how genes encode biological functions at the molecular, cellular and tissue system levels. Biological systems are so complex that we need to rely on computers to represent this knowledge. The project has developed formal ontologies that represent over 40,000 biological concepts, and are constantly being revised to reflect new discoveries. To date, these concepts have been used to "annotate" gene functions based on experiments reported in over 100,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The Gene Ontology project provides a controlled vocabulary of terms for describing gene product characteristics and gene product annotation data from GO Consortium members, as well as tools to access and process these data. Read more about the Gene Ontology.

The Gene Ontology Consortium (GOC) includes groups from around the world that collaborate closely on the development of the Gene Ontology and creation of gene function annotations.

The GOC is co-directed by (in alphabetical order):

  • Judith Blake, Jackson Laboratory (mouse gene annotation, ontology development)
  • J. Michael Cherry, Stanford University (yeast gene annotation, data production processes)
  • Suzanna Lewis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (GOC software development, ontology development)
  • Paul Sternberg, Caltech (C. elegans gene annotation, Common Annotation Framework development)
  • Paul Thomas, University of Southern California (phylogenetic annotation, ontology development)

The GO Consortium is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (US National Institutes of Health), grant number HG002273

Read more about the GO Consortium member groups, and additional funding for those groups.

The GO Council consists of the heads of major participating groups (in alphabetical order):

  • Alex Bateman, UniProt, European Bioinformatics Institute (gene annotation)
  • Nick Brown, FlyBase, University of Cambridge (Drosophila gene annotation)
  • Rex Chisholm, DictyBase, Northwestern University (Dictyostelium gene annotation)
  • James Hu, Texas A&M (gene annotation)
  • Eva Huala, The Arabidopsis Information Resource, Phoenix Bioinformatics (Arabidopsis gene annotation)
  • Helen Parkinson, Ontologies Team lead, European Bioinformatics Institute (ontology development)
  • Monte Westerfield, University of Oregon (zebrafish gene annotation)

Contact GO

The Gene Ontology project encourages input from the community into both the content of the GO and annotation using GO. We are very happy to work with others to ensure that the GO is both complete and accurate, and we also very much encourage communities to submit GO annotations for inclusion in the GO database. Please contact us.

You may also post messages and follow developments within the GO consortium by subscribing to one of the following mailing lists:

GO Mailing List

For GO consortium members and those working on or directly involved in the GO project. Automatically receives all posts from the GO Friends mailing list.

Subscription information and archived posts to the list.

GO Friends Mailing List

A mailing list for those involved in the GO project and those interested in it. All posts to the GO Friends mailing list are automatically sent to the GO mailing list.

Subscription information and archived posts to the list

GO Discuss Mailing List

A general discussion list for any and all Gene Ontology topics: annotation, ontology content or structure, evidence codes, uses of GO, and so on. Replaces the interest group specific mailing lists and a number of other more general mailing lists.

Subscription information and archived posts to the list