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Compugen Donates Data to Gene Ontology Consortium

NEW YORK, May 7 - Compugen has become the first industry participant in the Gene Ontology Consortium to contribute data to the standardization effort, the company and the consortium said Monday.

While other companies, such as Incyte and AstraZeneca, have contributed financially to the project, Compugen's contribution consists of a subset of Gencarta--the company's genome, transcriptome, and proteome database--that contains data on publicly known mRNAs generated using proprietary analysis and annotation tools. The donated data increases the amount of annotated data available to the consortium by ten times, according to a Compugen statement.

"Compugen is the first commercial company to donate annotation data to our project," Michael Cherry, a genetics researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine who co-directs the consortium, said in a statement. "This significant contribution will be integrated with the vast and growing body of data from functional analysis of genes, helping us in our efforts to develop one consistent language to describe and mine genomic and gene expression data."

As a member of the consortium, Compugen will be able to suggest changes, additions, and corrections to the terms and definitions that make up the ontology. The consortium is attempting to fashion a common language for describing genes and gene function out of the widely inconsistent methods for currently annotating genes. Participants include the public databases of genomic data for the fruit fly, nematode, Arabidopsis thaliana , and budding yeast organisms.

Compugen's participation is in the form of a "basic science collaboration" with no money changing hands, said Liat Mintz, director of genomic research for Compugen. "We will be helping the project by adding data and improving [its quality]," she added. "We want to be a part a of the consortium for the long-term."

Mintz said that Compugen's contribution was important not only for the amount of data the company is donating, but also because the data is of better quality and more accurate than publicly available genomic data.

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