Contributing GO Annotations

If your research group has GO annotations for a species that is not currently included in the GO, whether or not these annotations cover the entire genome, or if your research team has identified gaps or inaccuracies in the current set of GO annotations, this guide is for you. Choose the scenario that best describes your research group and follow the steps as indicated in the following pages.

Connecting annotations: LEGO Models

The Gene Ontology Consortium is moving towards a more expressive way of describing the function of gene products that allows annotations to be connected together to give a complete function of what each gene does in the context of a larger biological process. The new model is called LEGO, for "Logical Extension of the Gene Ontology".


For example, with the current datamodel and Gene Association Files, it's possible to make two statements:
  • TEM1 enables GTPase activity
  • BFA1 enables GTPase inhibitor activity

Contributing to GO

Research groups may contribute to the Gene Ontology Consortium (GOC) by providing suggestions for updating the ontology (e.g. requests for new terms) or by providing annotations, that is, associations between genes or gene products and ontology terms. Suggested edits are reviewed by the ontology editors and implemented where appropriate.

The following pages explain how you can contribute to the project. Please begin by choosing whether you wish to contribute annotations or terms to the Gene Ontology.

GO Annotation File (GAF) Format 2.1

Annotation data is submitted to the GO Consortium in the form of gene association files, or GAFs. This guide lays out the format specifications for GAF 2.1; for the previous GAF 2.0 file syntax, please see the GAF 2.0 file format guide.

For the first GAF 1.0 file syntax, please see the GAF 1.0 file format guide.

Please see the information on the changes in GAF 2.1.


TermGenie is a web-based tool for requesting new Gene Ontology classes. TermGenie also allows for an ontology developer to review all generated terms before they are committed to the ontology. The system makes extensive use of OWL axioms (logical definitions), but can be easily used without understanding these axioms.

Thank You for Contacting GO

Thank you, your submission has been submitted to the GO JIRA system.

Representing "phases" in GO biological process

The GOC has recently introduced a new term biological phase (GO:0044848), as a direct subclass of biological process. This class represents a distinct period or stage during which biological processes can occur. Biological phases do not share any is_a parent terms with other biological processes (i.e. they are is_a disjoint). They can be related to other biological processes with happens_during relationships e.g. DNA replication happens_during S-phase. They can also be regulated by other biological processes.

GO Mailing Lists

The GO consortium maintains three mailing lists:


Announcements on major activities of the Gene Ontology Consortium: new services, resource changes and significant advancements are posted. All posts to the go-friends mailing list are automatically sent to the go-consortium mailing list.

Subscription information and archived posts to the go-friends list


A general discussion list for any and all Gene Ontology topics.

GO Consortium Photo Album

  • GO Consortium Meeting, Hôtel Mont Gabriel, Sainte-Adèle, Québec, Canada, October 21–23, 2008
  • GO Consortium Meeting, Jesus College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, January 8–10, 2007
  • Annotation Camp, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA, July 12–14, 2006
  • Annotation Workshop, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA, July 10–11, 2006
  • GO Consortium Meeting, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, March 31–April 2, 2006