Gene Ontology on the move

An email from the GO mailing list reminded me of some upcoming changes. It used to be that there were term relationships of “is a” and “part of” between items. Recently they added a new relationship–”regulates” in the Biological Process hierarchy. And regulates can be plain, positive, or negative–with very cool icons to make that clear:


(to see these in the software, go to this link: DNA Metabolic Process, and open to see the children of that term in the text view)

But now we are going to get more relationships! Next February they will add “regulates” to Molecular Function terms, and they will have inter-hierarchy relationships (full announcement here):

Specifically, we will make the implicit regulatory relationships between ‘regulation of molecular function’ BP terms and the corresponding MF terms explicit. For example:

  • regulation of kinase activity (BP) regulates kinase activity (MF)

Similarly, we will make the implicit regulatory relationships between terms within the MF ontology explicit. For example:

  • calcium channel regulator activity (MF) regulates calcium channel activity (MF)

They are trying to get the word out because if you have software developed that works with the relationship descriptors, this is a big change. It may break your software.

And yes, it will break our tutorial…but we’ll fix that when the time comes.