EOL aims

Recent technological advances in biology now allow for the mass gathering of data that help describe precisely the main functions of life (epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome…). These data contribute to an extensive knowledge of the characteristics of each individual, which is to say its phenotype, the result of the expression and regulation of its genome. An authoritative ontology named ATOL (for “Animal Trait Ontology for Livestock”) has been created to define and organise phenotypical traits of livestock. As phenotypes are a result of the shared action of one’s genotype and one’s environment, a precise description of the environment of livestock is essential to get more meaningful phenotyping metadata. EOL, which stands for “Environment Ontology for Livestock” has been created to characterise, generically, husbandry systems and rearing conditions.

EOL is organised in four themes:

  1. livestock farming system
  2. livestock farming structures
  3. livestock farming environment
  4. livestock feeding

This ontology allows to describe rearing conditions and contextualise phenotyping data.


  1. To have an authoritative ontology to describe rearing conditions of livestock, that is shared by the international scientific and educational community
  2. To have a language used by computer programs (database management, semantic analysis, modelling…)
  3. To have the most common traits possible regarding livestock
  4. To make the ontology be the most operational it can be, and make it close to measure techniques
  5. To structure the base towards animal production