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An ontology for cell types

Jonathan Bard1, Seung Y Rhee2 and Michael Ashburner34*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Hugh Robson Building, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9XD, UK

2 Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, CA 93405, USA

3 Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EH, UK

4 EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SD, UK

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Citation and License

Genome Biology 2005, 6:R21  doi:10.1186/gb-2005-6-2-r21

Published: 14 January 2005


We describe an ontology for cell types that covers the prokaryotic, fungal, animal and plant worlds. It includes over 680 cell types. These cell types are classified under several generic categories and are organized as a directed acyclic graph. The ontology is available in the formats adopted by the Open Biological Ontologies umbrella and is designed to be used in the context of model organism genome and other biological databases. The ontology is freely available at webcite and can be viewed using standard ontology visualization tools such as OBO-Edit and COBrA.