Biological ontologies are used to organize, curate, and interpret the vast quantities of data arising from biological experiments. While this works well when using a single ontology, integrating multiple ontologies can be problematic, as they are developed independently, which can lead to incompatibilities. The Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies Foundry was created to address this by facilitating the development, harmonization, application, and sharing of ontologies, guided by a set of overarching principles. One challenge in reaching these goals was that the (...) OBO principles were not originally encoded in a precise fashion, and interpretation was subjective. Here we show how we have addressed this by formally encoding the OBO principles as operational rules and implementing a suite of automated validation checks and a dashboard for objectively evaluating each ontology’s compliance with each principle. This entailed a substantial effort to curate metadata across all ontologies and to coordinate with individual stakeholders. We have applied these checks across the full OBO suite of ontologies, revealing areas where individual ontologies require changes to conform to our principles. Our work demonstrates how a sizable federated community can be organized and evaluated on objective criteria that help improve overall quality and interoperability, which is vital for the sustenance of the OBO project and towards the overall goals of making data FAIR. Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway. (shrink)
The current COVID-19 pandemic and the previous SARS/MERS outbreaks of 2003 and 2012 have resulted in a series of major global public health crises. We argue that in the interest of developing effective and safe vaccines and drugs and to better understand coronaviruses and associated disease mechenisms it is necessary to integrate the large and exponentially growing body of heterogeneous coronavirus data. Ontologies play an important role in standard-based knowledge and data representation, integration, sharing, and analysis. Accordingly, we initiated the (...) development of the community-based Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology in early 2020. -/- As an Open Biomedical Ontology (OBO) library ontology, CIDO is open source and interoperable with other existing OBO ontologies. CIDO is aligned with the Basic Formal Ontology and Viral Infectious Disease Ontology. CIDO has imported terms from over 30 OBO ontologies. For example, CIDO imports all SARS-CoV-2 protein terms from the Protein Ontology, COVID-19-related phenotype terms from the Human Phenotype Ontology, and over 100 COVID-19 terms for vaccines (both authorized and in clinical trial) from the Vaccine Ontology. CIDO systematically represents variants of SARS-CoV-2 viruses and over 300 amino acid substitutions therein, along with over 300 diagnostic kits and methods. CIDO also describes hundreds of host-coronavirus protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and the drugs that target proteins in these PPIs. CIDO has been used to model COVID-19 related phenomena in areas such as epidemiology. The scope of CIDO was evaluated by visual analysis supported by a summarization network method. CIDO has been used in various applications such as term standardization, inference, natural language processing (NLP) and clinical data integration. We have applied the amino acid variant knowledge present in CIDO to analyze differences between SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variants. CIDO's integrative host-coronavirus PPIs and drug-target knowledge has also been used to support drug repurposing for COVID-19 treatment. -/- CIDO represents entities and relations in the domain of coronavirus diseases with a special focus on COVID-19. It supports shared knowledge representation, data and metadata standardization and integration, and has been used in a range of applications. (shrink)
Research has indicated that microRNAs (miRNAs), a special class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), can perform important roles in different biological and pathological processes. miRNAs’ functions are realized by regulating their respective target genes (targets). It is thus critical to identify and analyze miRNA-target interactions for a better understanding and delineation of miRNAs’ functions. However, conventional knowledge discovery and acquisition methods have many limitations. Fortunately, semantic technologies that are based on domain ontologies can render great assistance in this regard. In our (...) previous investigations, we developed a miRNA domain-specific application ontology, Ontology for MIcroRNA Target (OMIT), to provide the community with common data elements and data exchange standards in the miRNA research. This paper describes (1) our continuing efforts in the OMIT ontology development and (2) the application of the OMIT to enable a semantic approach for knowledge capture of miRNA-target interactions. (shrink)
Identification of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has been significantly enhanced due to the rapid advancement in sequencing technologies. On the other hand, semantic annotation of ncRNA data lag behind their identification, and there is a great need to effectively integrate discovery from relevant communities. To this end, the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) is being developed to provide a precisely defined ncRNA controlled vocabulary, which can fill a specific and highly needed niche in unification of ncRNA biology.
The Protein Ontology (PRO) web resource provides an integrative framework for protein-centric exploration and enables specific and precise annotation of proteins and protein complexes based on PRO. Functionalities include: browsing, searching and retrieving, terms, displaying selected terms in OBO or OWL format, and supporting URIs. In addition, the PRO website offers multiple ways for the user to request, submit, or modify terms and/or annotation. We will demonstrate the use of these tools for protein research and annotation.