Gene ontology: tool for the unification of biology. The Gene Ontology Consortium

Nat Genet. 2000 May;25(1):25-9. doi: 10.1038/75556.


Genomic sequencing has made it clear that a large fraction of the genes specifying the core biological functions are shared by all eukaryotes. Knowledge of the biological role of such shared proteins in one organism can often be transferred to other organisms. The goal of the Gene Ontology Consortium is to produce a dynamic, controlled vocabulary that can be applied to all eukaryotes even as knowledge of gene and protein roles in cells is accumulating and changing. To this end, three independent ontologies accessible on the World-Wide Web ( are being constructed: biological process, molecular function and cellular component.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Databases, Factual
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Genes*
  • Humans
  • Metaphysics
  • Mice
  • Molecular Biology / trends*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • Terminology as Topic*