HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee

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DescriptionHGNC resources
Primary CitationSeal et al 2011.[1]

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) sets a unique and meaningful name for every known human gene.[2] It asks experts their opinions. The HGNC gives a long name, and an abbreviation (referred to as a symbol) to every gene. The HGNC is part of the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO).

Traditional gene names and abbreviations are often not specific for a single gene. Example: CAP (which means just "chromosome-associated protein") can refer to any of six different genes: (BRD4, CAP1, LNPEP, PTPLA, SERPINB6, and SORBS1).

Unlike traditional names like CAP, the HGNC short gene names, or gene symbols, are given to one gene only. This reduces confusion as to which gene is referred to.

Naming guidelines[change | change source]

The HGNC approach to naming genes and assigning symbols (gene name abbreviations)is:

  1. gene symbols must be unique
  2. symbols should only use the Roman alphabet and Arabic numerals
  3. symbols should not contain punctuation or "G" for gene
  4. symbols do not contain any reference to the species they are encoded in, i.e. "H/h" for human

The full description of HGNC's nomenclature guidelines can be found on their web site [2]. HGNC advocates the appendices _v1, _v2,.. to distinguish between different splice variants and _pr1, _pr2,.. for promoter variants of a single gene.

HGNC also states that "gene nomenclature should evolve with new technology rather than be restrictive as sometimes occurs when historical and single gene nomenclature systems are applied".[3]

Procedure[change | change source]

The HGNC contacts authors who have published on the human gene in question by e-mail. They are asked their opinion on the proposed nomenclature. HGNC also works with other database curators, and experts for specific gene families or sets of genes.

Revision[change | change source]

Changing a standardised gene name after it has got established may cause confusion. The merit of such changes are therefore controversial. For this reason the HGNC changes a gene name only if agreement for that change can be got from most researchers working on that gene.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Seal, Ruth L. et al 2011. " the HGNC resources in 2011". Nucleic Acids Res. 39 (Database issue): D514–9. doi:10.1093/nar/gkq892. PMID 20929869.
  2. [1]
  3. Shows T.B. et al 1987. "Guidelines for human gene nomenclature. An international system for human gene nomenclature (ISGN, 1987)" (PDF). Cytogenetics and cell genetics. 46 (1–4): 11–28. PMID 3507270.

Other websites[change | change source]