The Plant Ontology: A Common Reference Ontology for Plants

TitleThe Plant Ontology: A Common Reference Ontology for Plants
Publication TypeConference Presentation
AuthorsWalls RL
Conference Name

Bio-Ontologies 2010: Semantic Applications in Life Sciences

Conference Date2010
Date PresentedJuly 9-10, 2010

The Plant Ontology (PO) was designed to facilitate cross-database querying and to foster consistent use of plant-specific terminology in annotation. As new data are generated from plant genome projects, the need for a consistent, cross-taxon vocabulary has grown. To meet this need, the Plant Ontology Consortium ( is expanding the PO to represent all plants. Upper level terms have been revised to allow comparative studies across distantly related taxa. At the same time, many new clade-specific terms are being introduced at lower levels, allowing precise annotation of genomics and genetic datasets for individual species. As part of the general movement in biomedical ontologies, the PO is following OBO foundry principles to facilitate integration with other ontologies and to improve compatibility with the semantic web. Collaborations with other consortia insure that terms are used consistently and ontologies are orthogonal. The diversity of growth forms and life histories within the plant kingdom presents a challenge, but also provides unique opportunities to study developmental and evolutionary homology across plants through the use of the Plant Ontology database.

Conference Location

Boston, MA