We ask a question every week on the rules of scientific writing and formatting. Test yourself and find out how much you know. It’s just for fun and maybe you’ll learn something new!
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?
Photo credit: Bootstrap DNA by mira66 on Flickr
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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The Science Editing Experts Team
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