Background: Microarray and other high-throughput technologies are producing large sets of interesting genes that are difficult to analyze directly. Bioinformatics tools are needed to interpret the functional information in the gene sets.
Results: We have created a web-based tool for data analysis and data visualization for sets of genes called GOTree Machine (GOTM). This tool was originally intended to analyze sets of co-regulated genes identified from microarray analysis but is adaptable for use with other gene sets from other high-throughput analyses. GOTree Machine generates a GOTree, a tree-like structure to navigate the Gene Ontology Directed Acyclic Graph for input gene sets. This system provides user friendly data navigation and visualization. Statistical analysis helps users to identify the most important Gene Ontology categories for the input gene sets and suggests biological areas that warrant further study. GOTree Machine is available online at http://genereg.ornl.gov/gotm/.
Conclusion: GOTree Machine has a broad application in functional genomic, proteomic and other high-throughput methods that generate large sets of interesting genes; its primary purpose is to help users sort for interesting patterns in gene sets.