How to get a list of all KEGG ko terms vs names?
Entering edit mode
2.5 years ago
tianshenbio ▴ 150

I want to map a list of KEGG terms with their corresponding names. Is it possible to get a list of all KEGG terms and their descriptions/names?

kegg annotation rna-seq • 2.2k views
Entering edit mode
23 months ago
Arsenal ▴ 160


I am not sure if you already figured it out, but, I know two easy ways of getting KO names/descriptions and use them afterwards to map their names to the respective KO IDs.

1 - The elegant way: Get title

  • If you happen to have a list of KOs, you can map their names using the lower field at "KO (KEGG ORTHOLOGY) Database" page (; enter your IDs (separated by either new lines, spaces, or both) and click "Get title":

get KOs title

  • This opens a new browser tab with the KOs description/names:

get KOs title 2

2 - The not-so-elegant way: Copy from page

  • If you wish to get all the descriptions/names from once, open the "KEGG Orthology (KO)" link in the "KO (KEGG ORTHOLOGY) Database" page ( get KOs title 3

  • Click in the rightmost arrow at top of the list (wait the complete page load): get KOs title 4

  • Then copy everything! it may lag a litle because the page is a bit heavy (55k+ lines, currently) get KOs title 5

  • Now you can paste in a text file (in my example I used notepad++, but any other text editor should work):

get KOs title 6

  • Save as tab-delimited file or any other usefull format and get whichever description you want.


1 - Avoid using excel IF you are not REALLY sure excel won't mess up the entered data. If you are REALLY sure it is ok, you can open the file as a speadsheet and use it as a database in formulas like VLOOKUP to map the descriptions to any KOs list you have (comment if you need me to show you how).

2 - In unix systems, you can easily get the description from the text file using grep, awk, sed, etc. This is much better if you wanna map the descriptions within a script/pipeline/program, etc.

I'm glad if this answer helps anyone. Cheers

Entering edit mode

Hey Arsenal,

I just made a post about this, but since its somewhat related, do you have an idea how I can get the functional category ( different level of the heirarchy) rather than the specific gene function? I'm trying to summarize the annotations by saying for example there are 243 genes related to "Carbohydrate metabolism"

Entering edit mode
20 months ago
szymon • 0

My group prepared a very nice tool based on KEGG ( see )


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