What’s in a name? The problems with genetic nomenclature

Written by Jenny Straiton

naming genes

Over the past year, some 27 genes have been renamed due to errors caused when they are inputted into Excel spreadsheets – highlighting a wider issue with the complexity of naming genes.  When it originally came to naming newly discovered genes, there was little consensus within the genetic community regarding nomenclature rules or guidelines. Some gene names give you a clue to their function – the DICER gene codes for a protein involved in DNA cleavage – whereas others are seemingly random. To add to the confusion, subspecialties in the genetics field each had their own way of naming genes;...

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