Disease Ontology: a backbone for disease semantic integration

Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(Database issue):D940-6. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr972. Epub 2011 Nov 12.


The Disease Ontology (DO) database (http://disease-ontology.org) represents a comprehensive knowledge base of 8043 inherited, developmental and acquired human diseases (DO version 3, revision 2510). The DO web browser has been designed for speed, efficiency and robustness through the use of a graph database. Full-text contextual searching functionality using Lucene allows the querying of name, synonym, definition, DOID and cross-reference (xrefs) with complex Boolean search strings. The DO semantically integrates disease and medical vocabularies through extensive cross mapping and integration of MeSH, ICD, NCI's thesaurus, SNOMED CT and OMIM disease-specific terms and identifiers. The DO is utilized for disease annotation by major biomedical databases (e.g. Array Express, NIF, IEDB), as a standard representation of human disease in biomedical ontologies (e.g. IDO, Cell line ontology, NIFSTD ontology, Experimental Factor Ontology, Influenza Ontology), and as an ontological cross mappings resource between DO, MeSH and OMIM (e.g. GeneWiki). The DO project (http://diseaseontology.sf.net) has been incorporated into open source tools (e.g. Gene Answers, FunDO) to connect gene and disease biomedical data through the lens of human disease. The next iteration of the DO web browser will integrate DO's extended relations and logical definition representation along with these biomedical resource cross-mappings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Disease / classification*
  • Disease / etiology
  • Humans
  • Semantics
  • Software
  • Terminology as Topic
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vocabulary, Controlled