Current Status

Class or type population of the At is a prerequisite for data entry in the ASA and ATA components of the Foundational Model of Anatomy ontology. The classes of At are defined in narrative text in accord with explicitly stated foundational principles (Principles and Definitions). These classes have been populated for macroscopic and microscopic anatomy, as well as for prototypic examples of biological macromolecules.

Canonical types (e.g., head, heart, right ventricle, left inguinal canal) are the leaf classes of At. These canonical types may, in turn, serve as classes when application developers wish to associate with the FMA the anatomy of instances or individual subjects (e.g., heart of John Doe). All canonical types must be assigned to a semantic class through the -is a- relationship before ASA and ATA relations of the class can be entered in the model.

We are currently developing the Anatomical Structural Abstraction (ASA) Components of the FMA. These components include a Dimensional Ontology (Do), Boundary Network (Bn), Part-of Network (Pn), and Spatial Association Network (SAn).

Thus, the ASA may be represented by the equation:

ASA = (Do, Bn, Pn, SAn)

Part/whole relations have been populated extensively, though not comprehensively for microscopic entities. We have defined different types of part-of relations (regional, constitutional, systemic, membership), which are described elsewhere. Such attributed part-of relationships have been entered for a substantial number of organs. Similarly, branch-of and tributary-of relationships have been entered for the majority of nerves, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels. We are in the process of entering various spatial association relationships such as location, containment, and orientation (see for example ‘Esophagus’). We are developing a tool that will provide semi-automatic entry of the numerous adjacency relationships of organs and organ parts (see for example ‘T8 part of esophagus’ in Foundational Model Explorer), thus speed up the population of this relationship.

Essentially very little data have been entered as yet for the Anatomical Transformation Abstraction (ATA), which is designed to model embryonic as well as postnatal development. We have proposed a representation scheme for the ATA in a research grant application.