MAO: a Multiple Alignment Ontology for nucleic acid and protein sequences

Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jul 25;33(13):4164-71. doi: 10.1093/nar/gki735. Print 2005.


The application of high-throughput techniques such as genomics, proteomics or transcriptomics means that vast amounts of heterogeneous data are now available in the public databases. Bioinformatics is responding to the challenge with new integrated management systems for data collection, validation and analysis. Multiple alignments of genomic and protein sequences provide an ideal environment for the integration of this mass of information. In the context of the sequence family, structural and functional data can be evaluated and propagated from known to unknown sequences. However, effective integration is being hindered by syntactic and semantic differences between the different data resources and the alignment techniques employed. One solution to this problem is the development of an ontology that systematically defines the terms used in a specific domain. Ontologies are used to share data from different resources, to automatically analyse information and to represent domain knowledge for non-experts. Here, we present MAO, a new ontology for multiple alignments of nucleic and protein sequences. MAO is designed to improve interoperation and data sharing between different alignment protocols for the construction of a high quality, reliable multiple alignment in order to facilitate knowledge extraction and the presentation of the most pertinent information to the biologist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Internet
  • Sequence Alignment / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Software*
  • Systems Integration
  • Vocabulary, Controlled


  • Interleukin-1