Plant Ontology, a controlled and structured plant vocabulary for all botanical disciplines

TitlePlant Ontology, a controlled and structured plant vocabulary for all botanical disciplines
Publication TypeConference Poster
Presenting AuthorAtkinson B
Secondary AuthorsCooper L, Moore L, Preece J, Lingutla NTV, Todorovic S, Walls RL, Stockey R, Rothwell G, Smith B, Gandolfo MA, Stevenson DW, Jaiswal P
Conference NameBotany 2013
Conference LocationNew Orleans, LA
Conference DatesJuly 27-31, 2013

Recently, plant genome sequencing has expanded to different species of plants. This has dramatically expanded our knowledge of gene expression in plant structures and development, as well as plant evolution. However, due to the vast phylogenetic diversity within the plant kingdom some inconsistencies with terminology have occurred. These conflicting plant vocabularies challenge advancement in the plant sciences; therefore, it is important to have a consistent plant structure vocabulary that encompasses all green plants. The Plant Ontology (PO) has been constructed as a well-structured vocabulary whether the terms are anatomical or developmental. The PO also annotates gene expression data to a wide diversity of plant parts and stages of development, for example, terms can be linked with relevant genes that are expressed during the development of a certain structure. Terms are arranged in a hierarchical structure in which taxon-specific annotations occur; this provides the opportunity for users to compare gene expression in homologous structures across clades. This serves as a critical aid for plant scientists who incorporate large data sets to engage questions on genomics, development, and comparative genetics across different plant groups. The Plant Ontology also provides other resources for plant biologists to use such as the Annotation of Image Segments with Ontologies program (AISO), allowing users to annotate plant structures with relevant terminology and genes from images from digital photography or scanned copies. For example digital images of fossil flowers can be segmented and annotated with Plant Ontology terms, to create an image database where structures can be easily identified and compared with other structures from different specimens in longitudinal and cross sections. The goal of the Plant Ontology is to cultivate a consistent vocabulary for plant biologists across all disciplines of botany.