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Parts and Wholes

Part-whole relations (or partonomies) play a critical role in medical concept representation. This is most obvious in the modelling of anatomy but it also affects the representation of surgical procedures – which usually act on anatomy – as well as many physiological or disease processes. Part-whole relations have long been the subject of extensive study both in the linguistic and knowledge representation communities.

The GRAIL description logic formalism and the issues in its design are described in detail in the GRAIL Tutorial. Certain features of the formalism are specifically relevant to representing part-whole relations. These are summarised here:

For historical reasons, the names of the OpenGALEN links are potentially confusing. Below are the OpenGALEN partonomic links as an expanded tree structure, the names used in the remainder are in italics between brackets.

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