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Towards refactoring the Molecular Function Ontology with a UML profile for function modeling.

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Towards refactoring the Molecular Function Ontology with a UML profile for function modeling.

J Biomed Semantics. 2017 Oct 04;8(1):48

Authors: Burek P, Loebe F, Herre H

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Gene Ontology (GO) is the largest resource for cataloging gene products. This resource grows steadily and, naturally, this growth raises issues regarding the structure of the ontology. Moreover, modeling and refactoring large ontologies such as GO is generally far from being simple, as a whole as well as when focusing on certain aspects or fragments. It seems that human-friendly graphical modeling languages such as the Unified Modeling Language (UML) could be helpful in connection with these tasks.
RESULTS: We investigate the use of UML for making the structural organization of the Molecular Function Ontology (MFO), a sub-ontology of GO, more explicit. More precisely, we present a UML dialect, called the Function Modeling Language (FueL), which is suited for capturing functions in an ontologically founded way. FueL is equipped, among other features, with language elements that arise from studying patterns of subsumption between functions. We show how to use this UML dialect for capturing the structure of molecular functions. Furthermore, we propose and discuss some refactoring options concerning fragments of MFO.
CONCLUSIONS: FueL enables the systematic, graphical representation of functions and their interrelations, including making information explicit that is currently either implicit in MFO or is mainly captured in textual descriptions. Moreover, the considered subsumption patterns lend themselves to the methodical analysis of refactoring options with respect to MFO. On this basis we argue that the approach can increase the comprehensibility of the structure of MFO for humans and can support communication, for example, during revision and further development.

PMID: 28978337 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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