Question: Difference between GO.db, biomaRt, and in GO annotations
gravatar for lihaone
8 months ago by
lihaone10 wrote:

There are many R packages from where GO annotations can be retrieved, for example, GO.db, biomaRt, and Are there any differences between the annotations obtained from these resources? Which one is the best in terms of update frequency and easy to use?

One case example adapted from:



res <- get("GO:0006913", revmap(org.Hs.egGO))

res <-'c', mget(res, org.Hs.egSYMBOL))


[1] "AAAS" "ANKRD54" "ANP32A" "CAMK1" "CDK5" "CITED1" "EIF5A" "FBXO22" "MYBBP1A" "NEUROD1" "NPM1" "NSRP1" "NUP205" [14] "NUP98" "RGS14" "RSRC1" "SET" "UPF3A"


ensembl <- useMart("ensembl", dataset = "hsapiens_gene_ensembl")

res <- getBM(c("hgnc_symbol"), filters = "go", values = "GO:0006913", mart = ensembl)


[1] "AAAS" "ANKRD54" "ANP32A" "ANP32D" "ANP32E" "CAMK1" "CDK5" "CITED1" "EIF5A" "FBXO22" "MYBBP1A" "NEUROD1" "NPM1"
[14] "NSRP1" "NUP155" "NUP205" "NUP35" "NUP54" "NUP58" "NUP98" "RAN" "RGS14" "RSRC1" "SET" "UPF3A"


R version 3.4.1 (2017-06-30) Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin15.6.0 (64-bit) Running under: macOS Sierra 10.12.6

Matrix products: default BLAS: /System/Library/Frameworks/Accelerate.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/vecLib.framework/Versions/A/libBLAS.dylib LAPACK: /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.4/Resources/lib/libRlapack.dylib

locale: [1] C

attached base packages: [1] parallel stats4 stats graphics grDevices utils datasets methods base

other attached packages: [1] data.table_1.10.4-3 gap_1.1-20 biomaRt_2.32.1 GO.db_3.4.1 AnnotationDbi_1.38.2 [7] IRanges_2.10.5 S4Vectors_0.14.7 Biobase_2.36.2 BiocGenerics_0.22.1 limma_3.32.10

loaded via a namespace (and not attached): [1] Rcpp_0.12.14 bit_1.1-12 rlang_0.1.4 blob_1.1.0 plyr_1.8.4 tools_3.4.1 DBI_0.7 bit64_0.9-7
[9] digest_0.6.12 tibble_1.3.4 bitops_1.0-6 RCurl_1.95-4.8 memoise_1.1.0 RSQLite_2.0 compiler_3.4.1 XML_3.98-1.9
[17] pkgconfig_2.0.1

go.db go biomart R • 681 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 8 months ago by Lluís R.690 • written 8 months ago by lihaone10

In my opinion, these slides show all the differences.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by natasha.sernova3.0k

Thanks Natasha for the slides. What I really wanted to know is which of these resources are the "correct" one to use in retrieving GO annotations (like GO ID to Entrez ID). I want to have you guys suggestions, so that I (and many other freshmen in the field) do not need to spend time on the selection of the resources.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by lihaone10

I think depending on their needs scientists find out what looks more reliable for their purposes. For example, out of many protein databases SwissProt looks mostly reliable - it is manually curated. Unfortunately it is small. See below what I found about GOA, Bioconductor and Biomart.

If you would like to know what is avalable in Biostars about all three ones, go to the upper left cormer of the page,

click LATEST and type GO Bioconductor Biomart into the empty line that appears in the middle. You will find more than 10


For example,

A: Tool for Human Gene Functional classes in R

A: From Ensembl Transcript Id To Go Term(S), Is There A Mapping?

What I found somewhere else is below.

Three articles above are about GO and GOA reliability.


“A large number of servers that provide access to a wide range of research data have been set up by the BioMart community. Using BioMart’s unique data federation technology, a Central Portal was established to provide a convenient single point of access to all of these data, which is distributed worldwide.”


“Annotation. The Bioconductor project provides software for associating microarray and other genomic data in real time with biological metadata from web databases such as GenBank, Entrez genes and PubMed (annotate package). Functions are also provided for incorporating the results of statistical analysis in HTML reports with links to annotation web resources. Software tools are available for assembling and processing genomic annotation data, from databases such as GenBank, the Gene Ontology Consortium, Entrez genes, UniGene, the UCSC Human Genome Project (AnnotationDbi package). Annotation data packages are distributed to provide mappings between different probe identifiers (e.g. Affy IDs, Entrez genes, PubMed). Customized annotation libraries can also be assembled.”

ADD REPLYlink modified 8 months ago • written 8 months ago by natasha.sernova3.0k

Thanks Natasha for these links. I updated my question above.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by lihaone10
gravatar for Lluís R.
8 months ago by
Lluís R.690
Spain, Barcelona
Lluís R.690 wrote:

GO.db and are copies of the GO annotations. GO.db is updated every 6 months with each release of Bioconductor. is also updated at the same time and using GO.db.

biomaRt connects to the server where the informations is stored, so it will be the most up to date.

If you want a stable release you can use either GO.db or, if you want the most up to date (from yesterday) data every time you do an analysis you can use biomaRt.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8 months ago by Lluís R.690

Thanks Lluís for these information. This is exactly what I wanted to know!

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by lihaone10
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