GOTrapper: a tool to navigate through branches of gene ontology hierarchy

Authors: 
Hezha Hassan
Siba Shanak
ISSN: 
1471-2105
Journal Name: 
BMC Bioinformatics
Volume: 
20
Issue: 
1
Pages From: 
20
To: 
20
Date: 
Friday, January 11, 2019
Keywords: 
GO term refinement; Gene association; Gene ontology
Project: 
GOTrapper
Abstract: 
BACKGROUND: Gene Ontology (GO) is a useful resource of controlled vocabulary that provides information about annotated genes. Based on such resource, finding the biological function is useful for biologists to come up with different hypotheses and help further investigations of an experiment. The biological function for desired genes and gene associations is picked up from a randomly chosen list or through the analysis of differential gene expression. Many tools have been developed to utilize GO knowledge and cluster genes according to relevant biological functions. The retrieved GO terms include both specific and non-specific terms, which is not user-friendly in terms of data analysis. Thus one approach is still missing, which allows navigating through different levels of GO hierarchy manually. RESULT: We developed a tool, GOTrapper, which allows moving up or down to the very bottom of the GO hierarchy. This is performed manually by the user, based on an assigned threshold. This tool grabs the shared terms by the desired set of input genes of Homo sapiens. Here, two inputs are possible. "Within" is to find associated terms within one gene list, and "Between" is to find associated terms between two lists. The tool also provides the option to return the terms with the pre-selected evidence codes. CONCLUSION: GOTrapper is a user-friendly Java tool that helps the user move up and down the ontology tree, which leads to new hypotheses and devising new association of the input genes. It also allows returning terms of associated genes based on selected evidence codes. This tool can be accessed and is freely available at https://github.com/BioGeneTools/GOTrapper .