Reply to post: Time to be pedantic

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

RM Myers Silver badge
Headmaster

Time to be pedantic

These are not the gene names, they are the common abbreviation used for the gene. Thus, the gene abbreviated as BRCA1 is named "Breast Cancer 1, early onset'. And yes, I realize people rarely use the full name, and then probably only once per article. This article is not about changing the name, but rather the standard abbreviation.

Also, excel is being used to display genetic information in a format people can easily read and manipulate for small subsets of data. The source genetic data typically uses formats like SAM or BAM or other specialized formats, which are much easier to work with programmatically, but rather difficult to browse (and they can be HUGE). There is a large amount of open source software for analyzing genetic data, but much of it is fairly complex and probably overkill for small subsets of data, particular for non-IT literate scientists.

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