The Protein Ontology (PRO) provides a formal, logically-based classification of specific protein classes including structured representations of protein isoforms, variants and modified forms. Initially focused on proteins found in human, mouse and Escherichia coli, PRO now includes representations of protein complexes. The PRO Consortium works in concert with the developers of other biomedical ontologies and protein knowledge bases to provide the ability to formally organize and integrate representations of precise protein forms so as to enhance accessibility to results of protein (...) research. PRO (http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro) is part of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO; http://proconsortium.org) formally defines protein entities and explicitly represents their major forms and interrelations. Protein entities represented in PRO corresponding to single amino acid chains are categorized by level of specificity into family, gene, sequence and modification metaclasses, and there is a separate metaclass for protein complexes. All metaclasses also have organism-specific derivatives. PRO complements established sequence databases such as UniProtKB, and interoperates with other biomedical and biological ontologies such as the Gene Ontology (GO). PRO relates to (...) UniProtKB in that PRO’s organism-specific classes of proteins encoded by a specific gene correspond to entities documented in UniProtKB entries. PRO relates to the GO in that PRO’s representations of organism-specific protein complexes are subclasses of the organism-agnostic protein complex terms in the GO Cellular Component Ontology. The past few years have seen growth and changes to the PRO, as well as new points of access to the data and new applications of PRO in immunology and proteomics. Here we describe some of these developments. (shrink)
Research has indicated that microRNAs (miRNAs), a special class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), can perform important roles in different biological and pathological processes. miRNAs’ functions are realized by regulating their respective target genes (targets). It is thus critical to identify and analyze miRNA-target interactions for a better understanding and delineation of miRNAs’ functions. However, conventional knowledge discovery and acquisition methods have many limitations. Fortunately, semantic technologies that are based on domain ontologies can render great assistance in this regard. In our (...) previous investigations, we developed a miRNA domain-specific application ontology, Ontology for MIcroRNA Target (OMIT), to provide the community with common data elements and data exchange standards in the miRNA research. This paper describes (1) our continuing efforts in the OMIT ontology development and (2) the application of the OMIT to enable a semantic approach for knowledge capture of miRNA-target interactions. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO) web resource provides an integrative framework for protein-centric exploration and enables specific and precise annotation of proteins and protein complexes based on PRO. Functionalities include: browsing, searching and retrieving, terms, displaying selected terms in OBO or OWL format, and supporting URIs. In addition, the PRO website offers multiple ways for the user to request, submit, or modify terms and/or annotation. We will demonstrate the use of these tools for protein research and annotation.
Representing species-specific proteins and protein complexes in ontologies that are both human and machine-readable facilitates the retrieval, analysis, and interpretation of genome-scale data sets. Although existing protin-centric informatics resources provide the biomedical research community with well-curated compendia of protein sequence and structure, these resources lack formal ontological representations of the relationships among the proteins themselves. The Protein Ontology (PRO) Consortium is filling this informatics resource gap by developing ontological representations and relationships among proteins and their variants and modified forms. Because (...) proteins are often functional only as members of stable protein complexes, the PRO Consortium, in collaboration with existing protein and pathway databases, has launched a new initiative to implement logical and consistent representation of protein complexes. We describe here how the PRO Consortium is meeting the challenge of representing species-specific protein complexes, how protein complex representation in PRO supports annotation of protein complexes and comparative biology, and how PRO is being integrated into existing community bioinformatics resources. The PRO resource is accessible at http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro/. (shrink)
Identification of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has been significantly enhanced due to the rapid advancement in sequencing technologies. On the other hand, semantic annotation of ncRNA data lag behind their identification, and there is a great need to effectively integrate discovery from relevant communities. To this end, the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) is being developed to provide a precisely defined ncRNA controlled vocabulary, which can fill a specific and highly needed niche in unification of ncRNA biology.
In recent years, sequencing technologies have enabled the identification of a wide range of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Unfortunately, annotation and integration of ncRNA data has lagged behind their identification. Given the large quantity of information being obtained in this area, there emerges an urgent need to integrate what is being discovered by a broad range of relevant communities. To this end, the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) is being developed to provide a systematically structured and precisely defined controlled vocabulary for the (...) domain of ncRNAs, thereby facilitating the discovery, curation, analysis, exchange, and reasoning of data about structures of ncRNAs, their molecular and cellular functions, and their impacts upon phenotypes. The goal of NCRO is to serve as a common resource for annotations of diverse research in a way that will significantly enhance integrative and comparative analysis of the myriad resources currently housed in disparate sources. It is our belief that the NCRO ontology can perform an important role in the comprehensive unification of ncRNA biology and, indeed, fill a critical gap in both the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Library and the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) BioPortal. Our initial focus is on the ontological representation of small regulatory ncRNAs, which we see as the first step in providing a resource for the annotation of data about all forms of ncRNAs. (shrink)
In recent years, sequencing technologies have enabled the identification of a wide range of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Unfortunately, annotation and integration of ncRNA data has lagged behind their identification. Given the large quantity of information being obtained in this area, there emerges an urgent need to integrate what is being discovered by a broad range of relevant communities. To this end, the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) is being developed to provide a systematically structured and precisely defined controlled vocabulary for the (...) domain of ncRNAs, thereby facilitating the discovery, curation, analysis, exchange, and reasoning of data about structures of ncRNAs, their molecular and cellular functions, and their impacts upon phenotypes. The goal of NCRO is to serve as a common resource for annotations of diverse research in a way that will significantly enhance integrative and comparative analysis of the myriad resources currently housed in disparate sources. It is our belief that the NCRO ontology can perform an important role in the comprehensive unification of ncRNA biology and, indeed, fill a critical gap in both the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Library and the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) BioPortal. Our initial focus is on the ontological representation of small regulatory ncRNAs, which we see as the first step in providing a resource for the annotation of data about all forms of ncRNAs. The NCRO ontology is free and open to all users. (shrink)
Biological ontologies are used to organize, curate, and interpret the vast quantities of data arising from biological experiments. While this works well when using a single ontology, integrating multiple ontologies can be problematic, as they are developed independently, which can lead to incompatibilities. The Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies Foundry was created to address this by facilitating the development, harmonization, application, and sharing of ontologies, guided by a set of overarching principles. One challenge in reaching these goals was that the (...) OBO principles were not originally encoded in a precise fashion, and interpretation was subjective. Here we show how we have addressed this by formally encoding the OBO principles as operational rules and implementing a suite of automated validation checks and a dashboard for objectively evaluating each ontology’s compliance with each principle. This entailed a substantial effort to curate metadata across all ontologies and to coordinate with individual stakeholders. We have applied these checks across the full OBO suite of ontologies, revealing areas where individual ontologies require changes to conform to our principles. Our work demonstrates how a sizable federated community can be organized and evaluated on objective criteria that help improve overall quality and interoperability, which is vital for the sustenance of the OBO project and towards the overall goals of making data FAIR. Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. (shrink)
Identification of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has been significantly improved over the past decade. On the other hand, semantic annotation of ncRNA data is facing critical challenges due to the lack of a comprehensive ontology to serve as common data elements and data exchange standards in the field. We developed the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) to handle this situation. By providing a formally defined ncRNA controlled vocabulary, the NCRO aims to fill a specific and highly needed niche in semantic annotation of (...) large amounts of ncRNA biological and clinical data. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO) is designed as a formal and principled Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry ontology for proteins. The components of PRO extend from a classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships at the homeomorphic level to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene, including those resulting from alternative splicing, cleavage and/or posttranslational modifications. Focusing specifically on the TGF-beta signaling proteins, we describe the building, curation, usage and dissemination of PRO. PRO provides a framework (...) for the formal representation of protein classes and protein forms in the OBO Foundry. It is designed to enable data retrieval and integration and machine reasoning at the molecular level of proteins, thereby facilitating cross-species comparisons, pathway analysis, disease modeling and the generation of new hypotheses. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO) provides terms for and supports annotation of species-specific protein complexes in an ontology framework that relates them both to their components and to species-independent families of complexes. Comprehensive curation of experimentally known forms and annotations thereof is expected to expose discrepancies, differences, and gaps in our knowledge. We have annotated the early events of innate immune signaling mediated by Toll-Like Receptor 3 and 4 complexes in human, mouse, and chicken. The resulting ontology and annotation data set (...) has allowed us to identify species-specific gaps in experimental data and possible functional differences between species, and to employ inferred structural and functional relationships to suggest plausible resolutions of these discrepancies and gaps. (shrink)
Critiquing any practice, theory, or law, requires understanding the characteristics of the environment which created a need for this law. There are hundreds of different cultures in the world, and each one has its own set of norms, characteristics, and values. What in one country is perceived normal, ethical or unethical, right or wrong, may not be the same somewhere else in the world. The first civilizations begun in Africa and Europe many thousands of years ago when people were hunters (...) and nomads, it is not unreasonable to suspect that many of those traits and characteristics have been socially transferred and/or inherited by future generations. (shrink)
Many epistemological problems can be solved by the objective Bayesian view that there are rationality constraints on priors, that is, inductive probabilities. But attempts to work out these constraints have run into such serious problems that many have rejected objective Bayesianism altogether. I argue that the epistemologist should borrow the metaphysician’s concept of naturalness and assign higher priors to more natural hypotheses.
Formal methods are changing how epistemology is being studied and understood. A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology introduces the types of formal theories being used and explains how they are shaping the subject. Beginning with the basics of probability and Bayesianism, it shows how representing degrees of belief using probabilities informs central debates in epistemology. As well as discussing induction, the paradox of confirmation and the main challenges to Bayesianism, this comprehensive overview covers objective chance, peer disagreement, the concept of (...) full belief, and the traditional problems of justification and knowledge. Subjecting each position to a critical analysis, it explains the main issues in formal epistemology, and the motivations and drawbacks of each position. Written in an accessible language and supported study questions, guides to further reading and a glossary, positions are placed in an historic context to give a sense of the development of the field. As the first introductory textbook on formal epistemology, A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
Sometimes we learn what the world is like, and sometimes we learn where in the world we are. Are there any interesting differences between the two kinds of cases? The main aim of this article is to argue that learning where we are in the world brings into view the same kind of observation selection effects that operate when sampling from a population. I will first explain what observation selection effects are ( Section 1 ) and how they are relevant (...) to learning where we are in the world ( Section 2 ). I will show how measurements in the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics can be understood as learning where you are in the world via some observation selection effect ( Section 3 ). I will apply a similar argument to the Sleeping Beauty Problem ( Section 4 ) and explain what I take the significance of the analogy to be ( Section 5 ). Finally, I will defend the Restricted Principle of Indifference on which some of my arguments depend ( Section 6 ). (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas has argued that carrying out pre-natal germline enhancements would be inimical to the future child's autonomy. In this article, I suggest that many of the objections that have been made against Habermas' arguments by liberals in the enhancement debate misconstrue his claims. To explain why, I begin by explaining how Habermas' view of personal autonomy confers particular importance to the agent's embodiment and social environment. In view of this, I explain that it is possible to draw two arguments (...) against germline enhancements from Habermas' thought. I call these arguments ‘the argument from negative freedom’ and ‘the argument from natality’. Although I argue that many of the common liberal objections to Habermas are not applicable when his arguments are properly understood, I go on to suggest ways in which supporters of enhancement might appropriately respond to Habermas' arguments. (shrink)
Consider the view that coming into existence is bad for us. Can we hold this and yet deny that ceasing to exist would be good for us? I argue that we can. First, many animals have lives such that they would be better off not existing. Second, if persons and babies are distinct things then the same is true of babies. Third, even if persons and babies are not distinct things – rather they are phases that human beings go through (...) – still it is bad for babies that they come into existence. So it was bad for us to come into existence. But most of us now enjoy worthwhile lives. So it would be bad for us, now, to cease to exist. (shrink)
Contemporary emphasis on creating culturally relevant and context specific knowledge increasingly drives researchers to conduct their work in settings outside their home country. This often requires researchers to build relationships with various stakeholders who may have a vested interest in the research. This case study examines the tension between relationship development with stakeholders and maintaining study integrity, in the context of potential harms, data credibility and cultural sensitivity. We describe an ethical breach in the conduct of global health research by (...) a arising from the ad-hoc participation of a community stakeholder external to the visiting research group. A framework for reflection is developed from a careful examination of underlying factors and presented with a discussion of consequences and mitigation measures. This framework aims to present lessons learned for researchers working abroad who might face similar situations in their work. (shrink)
We used social network analysis to examine a theoretical model exploring why, and under what circumstances, the perpetrators’ ostracizing behaviors are accurately perceived by the target employees. In turn, these perceptions of ostracism lead to the target employees’ counterproductive work behaviors. Adopting perspectives from both perpetrators and targets, we directly measured the ostracizing behaviors by all potential perpetrators and perceived workplace ostracism by target employees. We integrate Social information processing theory and conservation of resource theory to propose a moderated mediation (...) model, and found that employees who have a high level of need to belong are more likely to capture coworkers’ ostracizing behaviors, and those with low political skill are more likely to engage in counterproductive work behavior as their reaction to perceived workplace ostracism. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (shrink)
The main argument given for relevant alternatives theories of knowledge has been that they answer scepticism about the external world. I will argue that relevant alternatives also solve two other problems that have been much discussed in recent years, a) the bootstrapping problem and b) the apparent conflict between semantic externalism and armchair self-knowledge. Furthermore, I will argue that scepticism and Mooreanism can be embedded within the relevant alternatives framework.
The authors discussed the reasons for the recent economic collapse as caused by the lack of large businesses and global corporations losing touch with the people they serve. Losing touch has caused a distancing of understanding of the customers as people by these businesses and corporations. An antidote to this is that decisions that have to be made in global businesses as well as domestic organizations reflect some level of empathy. The objective is to highlight the fact that these businesses (...) are corporate citizens and in themselves must be aware of the culture in which they conduct themselves. The authors discuss how empathie decision-making can become part of the corporate fabric without losing any sense of appropriate business judgment. A process is defined to enable the empathie process. Finally, a straw man is set up to fund/enable the process while creating a positive and profitable business environment. (shrink)
Carrie Jenkins (2005, 2008) has developed a theory of the a priori that she claims solves the problem of how justification regarding our concepts can give us justification regarding the world. She claims that concepts themselves can be justified, and that beliefs formed by examining such concepts can be justified a priori. I object that we can have a priori justified beliefs with unjustified concepts if those beliefs have no existential import. I then argue that only beliefs without existential import (...) can be justified a priori on the widely held conceptual approach. This limits the scope of the a priori and undermines arguments for essentialism. (shrink)
Many people are resistant to the conclusions for which I argued in Better Never to Have Been . I have previously responded to most of the published criticisms of my arguments. Here I respond to a new batch of critics (and to some fellow anti-natalists) who gathered for a conference at the University of Johannesburg and whose papers are published in this special issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy . I am also taking the opportunity to respond to (...) two other critics whose articles have previously been published in South African philosophy journals. Clearly I cannot respond to all the arguments in each of these papers and thus I shall focus on what I take to be some of the central issues in each. None of the arguments to which I shall respond have caused me to revise my views. However, I am pleased to have the opportunity to show why this is the case. (shrink)
During the past fifteen years, the relationship between literature and medical ethics has evolved from the occasional use of stories as a substitute for the traditional case study in medical ethics to the emergence of a narrative approach to ethical analysis and decision making. Thus far, literary theory has been more important to narrative medical ethics than have works of literature themselves. Perri Klass's novel Other Women's Children deserves special scrutiny, however, because an analysis of it demonstrates ways that a (...) narrative approach could enhance traditional philosophical and legal approaches to resolving ethical dilemmas in medicine. (shrink)
The recent global economic collapse brings new calls for reform and change as well as a re-examination of the ethical foundations underpining it. Most professors as well as students remain profoundly unhappy with the Business Curricula. The curricula appear to swing between technological training and academic theory. There is little genuine focus on the central issue of the problem: the students’ and faculty’s assumptive world which drives the selection of the materials chosen for presentation as well as the decision-making process. (...) In the pragmatic quest to achieve status within academe, business schools appear to have forgotten that their subject matter is not one cognate domain but a mixture of several areas including mathematics, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, logic and planning. Course structures must be redesigned as consilient. That is, each course contains in it the links to other courses and is not expected to be complete in themselves; the new structures proposed are no longer under the direct control of one instructor but each course is under the control of a committee. This creates a linkage between courses that together from a linked chain of knowledge where the strength of the curriculum is tied to the consilient strength of the courses. The result is an organic and developmental model for teaching and learning with a strong ethical foundation as well as developed moral links to effective decision making. (shrink)
This essay offers a critical analysis of Hannah Arendt's notion of natality through the lens of Adriana Cavarero's feminist philosophy of birth. First, I argue that the strength of Arendtian natality is its rootedness in an ontology of uniqueness, and a commitment to human plurality and relationality. Next, I trace with Cavarero three critical concerns regarding Arendtian natality, namely that it is curiously abstract; problematically disembodied and sexually neutral; and dependent on a model of vulnerability that assumes equality rather than (...) asymmetry. This last issue is further developed in the final section of the essay, where I examine the idea that birth, for Cavarero, becomes the very concept by which we can distinguish and normatively differentiate acts of care and love from acts of wounding and violence. Upholding the normative distinction here depends on a conceptual distinction between vulnerability and helplessness. To maintain the ethical potential of the scene of birth, I argue that we have to insist on the very characteristics Cavarero attributes to it—ones, as this essay aims to show, that are ultimately missing in the Arendtian account thereof. (shrink)
The dream-lag effect refers to there being, after the frequent incorporation of memory elements from the previous day into dreams , a lower incorporation of memory elements from 2 to 4 days before the dream, but then an increased incorporation of memory elements from 5 to 7 days before the dream. Participants kept a daily diary and a dream diary for 14 days and then rated the level of matching between every dream report and every daily diary record. Baseline matching (...) was assessed by comparing all dream reports to all diary records for days that occurred after the dream. A significant dream-lag effect for the 5–7 day period, compared to baseline and compared to the 2–4 day period, was found. This may indicate a memory processing function for sleep, which the dream content may reflect. Participants’ and three independent judges’ mean ratings also confirmed a significant day-residue effect. (shrink)