Style Guide

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1. Basic guidance

  • No plurals
  • Definition for every term
  • External references including URLs for the definitions
  • Any obsoleted term should have external references moved to closest remaining term


2. Definition

Here is a breakdown of the format of the Disease Ontology definition format:

A disease that is

A disease that involves

A disease that is manifested in

The first sentence should describe: the disease involves .."these conditions, signs, symptoms". e.g., headache, severe joint pain and a rash.

The second second sentence: additional symptoms, if needed.

The third sentence: the etiology: the cause of the disease e.g. dengue viruses [NCBITaxon:12637] transmission, e.g. vector: transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes [NCBITaxon:7158]

Definitions should be in the form of necessary and sufficient conditions. [Theory of Definition 101] This means: Every entity in the universe satisfying the definition should be an instance of the disease type represented by the term you are defining, and every instance of the disease type you are defining should satisfy the definition.


3. Terms that contain "with" or "without" should be removed.

Therefore, terms such as the following should be removed:

senility without mention of psychosis

acute gastritis, without mention of hemorrhage

acute monocytic leukemia without mention of remission


4. Use of 'other' and 'unspecified'

Avoid the use of 'other' or 'unspecified' or any similar expressions.


5. Upper Case Terms: Proper Nouns, Countries, Genus

Upper case terms should be reserved for proper nouns, countries, or genus names.


6. Non-real diseases: "disease with qualifiers"

There should be no distinction drawn in the DO that does not correspond to a real difference on the side of the disease itself. For example, look at the term: tuberculosis of mother, with delivery

tuberculosis of mother, during lunar eclipse --> merge with tuberculosis

Link to more notes: Style Guide Notes

7. Terms that represent a time point

Terms that represent a time point should be removed (make obsolete) from DO.

e.g., childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia in remission

e.g., leukemia in remission

8. Relations in DO

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