What is the correct formatting for gene symbols from different species?

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8th Nov 2011

What is the correct formatting for gene symbols from different species? For example,could Abc1  be a human, mouse, rat, Drosophila, C. Elgans,  bacterial or retroviral gene?

gene symbols in English language science editing

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Answer: Abc1  could be a mouse, rat or Drosophila gene.

This question follows on from last week’s question on the correct formatting for gene and protein symbols. According to the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee and the American Medical Association Manual of Style:

  • Human and yeast genes are usually written with all upper case / capital letters e.g. ABC1
  • Mouse, rat and Drosophila genes are usually written with just a first upper case / capital letter e.g. Abc1
  • C. Elgans and retroviral genes are written with only lower case letters e.g. abc1
  • Bacterial genes symbols are usually lower case with a capital / uppercase letter to indicate the locus e.g. abcA1

As always, there are some exceptions to these rules, for example, recessive mouse, rat and Drosophila genes are written in all lower case e.g. abc1

It’s always best to check the exact gene symbol in the correct species database. Here are some useful links to databases where you can check the correct formatting for the genes you are interested in.

Human genes: HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee

Mouse genes: Mouse Genome Informatics

Rat genes: Rat Genome Database

Drosophila  genes: Flybase

C. Elgans  genes: Wormbase

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