Use and misuse of the gene ontology annotations

Nat Rev Genet. 2008 Jul;9(7):509-15. doi: 10.1038/nrg2363. Epub 2008 May 13.


The Gene Ontology (GO) project is a collaboration among model organism databases to describe gene products from all organisms using a consistent and computable language. GO produces sets of explicitly defined, structured vocabularies that describe biological processes, molecular functions and cellular components of gene products in both a computer- and human-readable manner. Here we describe key aspects of GO, which, when overlooked, can cause erroneous results, and address how these pitfalls can be avoided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology*
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Software


  • Proteins