Craniofacial Human Ontology (CHO)

Human canonical anatomy

The CHO models canonical anatomy of the human head.


The CHO is a subset of the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) (1,2) that contains classes and properties that describe the canonical anatomy of the human head. It currently does not include the brain. Craniofacial content of the FMA was extended to include taxonomic and spatio-structural relationships necessary to comprehensively represent the structural components involved in the genesis of orofacial clefts, and in particular clefts of the lip and palate which are currently the primary use cases for this project.


Content enhancement is largely focused on all anatomical entities and structural relationships pertaining to the lips, nose, oral vestibule, gingiva, alveolar ridge, palate, and orbital structures. We augmented the ontological description of canonical adult anatomy to granularity levels that closely correspond to developmental information that specifies the structures affected during dysmorphogenesis.


  1. Rosse, C., Mejino, J.L.V., 2003. A reference ontology for bioinformatics: the Foundational Model of Anatomy. Journal of Biomedical Informatics 36, 478–500.
  2. Rosse, C., Mejino, J.L.V, 2007. The Foundational Model of Anatomy Ontology, in: Burger, A., Davidson, D., Baldock, R. (Eds.), Anatomy Ontologies for Bioinformatics: Principles and Practice. Springer, pp. 59–117.

The FMA is an ontology that models anatomy of the entire human body, and was developed by the Structural Informatics Group at the University of Washington (see the FMA webpage for more information).