Contributing to the ontology

We strive to make GO as complete and accurate as possible, so suggestions for new terms and improvements to existing terms are very welcome.

Suggesting a new GO term

1. Check whether the term already exists

Before you submit a new term request, confirm that the term is not already in the ontology. To do this, search the ontology using AmiGO. Note that the term may exist as a primary term label or as a synonym.

2. Gather as much necessary information as possible

Please provide suggestions for:

  • New term label (required)
  • Definition (required)
  • Position in the GO hierarchy or the parent class (required)
  • Where the term has been used (e.g., PMID:xxxx, ISBN:xxxx, DOI:xxxx. At least one is required)
  • Synonyms
  • Cross-references (e.g., KEGG, EC)

For an example, see the entry for recycling endosome. The ontology editors can process requests more rapidly when all the required information is provided.

3. Communicate with the GO ontology editors

  • The preferred way is to create a ticket(s) in the GO-ontology tracking system. This allows you to monitor the progress on work on the issue, and participate in the discussion among GO annotation team members. Instructions about how to create an account and use the GitHub repository can be found here.
  • Alternatively, contact the GO helpdesk with your request.

Suggesting other improvements to the ontology

Common requests to modify terms include:

  • Suggestions for clarifying term definitions
  • Adding synonyms or changing synonym types
  • Changing the position of the term in the GO hierarchy
  • Providing taxon restrictions for annotations to the term
  • etc.

For each request, please provide as much background information as possible.

Term improvements can be submitted to the GO-ontology tracking system as described above.

When to create a new ticket

Keep tickets simple; do not hesitate to create multiple tickets if necessary. Unless terms are related, submit a separate request for each new term.

Contributing your expertise

The Gene Ontology Consortium welcomes contributions from experts in any area of biology to help us improve the ontology. Contact us to start contributing to the ontology.