1Ruth C. Lovering, 1Varsha K. Khodiyar, 2Evelyn Camon, 1Sue Povey
1HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee, Department of Biology, University College London, Wolfson House, 4 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HE, UK, 2European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SD, UK
The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) works to provide a unique approved name and short-form symbol for every human gene. So far over 23,000 unique symbols have been assigned. However, HGNC approved nomenclature does not aim to encompass everything known about the gene and its product. In contrast, the goal of the Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium is to produce a dynamic controlled vocabulary to describe the known functions of every gene product. These 'GO terms' can be applied to gene products in all organisms and are updated to accommodate the changes in our understanding of cell biology.
The process of providing approved gene symbols entails the accumulation of data from a number of disparate sources: reading the literature, performing sequence analyses and corresponding with authors. The Human Gene Ontology Annotation (HUGOA) project has been set up to utilise this collation of data for the purpose of gene ontology. HUGOA allows HGNC nomenclature advisors to co-ordinate the assignment of gene nomenclature with the addition of GO terminology to gene products. The HUGOA team is working with the GOA project at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the GO terms are added directly to the EBI UniProt database.
The GO annotation targets for the HUGOA team are human gene products with little or no manual annotation. HGNC regularly receives requests for approved gene nomenclature for newly characterised genes and therefore, by working within HGNC, the HUGOA team can easily prioritise these new data. Whenever possible, the identified GO terms are also added to orthologous gene products in other species. The progress made by the HUGOA team will be discussed.
The HGNC is supported by the Wellcome Trust and NHGRI grant P41 HG003345.
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