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Biology nomenclature

  1. May 11, 2004 #1

    Monique

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    How do you distinguish a human gene from a mouse gene by name? How about proteins? Is there a general consensus which says that genes should be italic and proteins non-italic and that human genes/proteins capitalized and mouse gene/proteins non-capitalized?
     
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  3. May 11, 2004 #2

    iansmith

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    As far as I know there is not official rules for distinguishing between genes and proteins of other species. The nomentlature only applies to the differenciate genes and proteins. for protein, it is not italized and the first letter is capital. For genes, italized but no capital letter.

    Example: fur (gene) Fur (gene product)

    Always remember that some people do not follow convention because these people are too old and do not want to change and some biologist have a weird sense of humor when it comes to naming proteins or genes.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2004
  4. May 11, 2004 #3

    Monique

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    lol, I know the drosophila biologists are weird, judging on the way they name genes :rofl:
     
  5. May 11, 2004 #4

    iansmith

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    yeah i was doing a report for one my class on signal transduction of the immune system of drosophila. What struck me the most, they name a gene relish and another snake.
     
  6. May 11, 2004 #5

    Monique

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    How about the sonic hedgehog gene? :biggrin: there were so many, it is funny because there is a story behind them. Or the prune gene, where flies have dark purple eyes instead of red. Later a gene was identified that is lethal only when the fly has the prune phenotype, thus the gene is named killer-of-prune :eek: we also carry white apricot genes in our genome :tongue2:
     
  7. May 11, 2004 #6
  8. May 11, 2004 #7

    Monique

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    JAK-1: just another kinase :rolleyes:
     
  9. May 11, 2004 #8
    that is sooo cool/funny. I had no idea you biololgists had such a great sense of humor.
     
  10. May 11, 2004 #9

    Moonbear

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    The convention for distinguishing genes from proteins seems to vary from journal to journal, so stick with whatever seems to be used in the journal you're most likely to publish in. Usually, genes are lowercase with or without italics, and proteins either start with a capital letter or are in all caps, but this isn't really done consistently all the time.

    To distinguish proteins of different species, a lowercase letter in front of the protein abbreviation corresponding to the species is used. So, for something like prolactin, which is abbreviated PRL, for mouse you'd use mPRL (m is for murine, not mouse, incidentally), hPRL for human, ePRL for equine (horse), oPRL for ovine (sheep) rPRL for rat, and I'm not sure how you'd distinguish rat from rabbit, or anything else you start getting repeats of these letters for. I don't think it's a standard convention, but in our lab, we use two letters for some species to clarify this, since we work with proteins of many species. So, rt is for rat and rb for rabbit. It's not perfect. When in doubt, write the whole word out. For our lab, we just all use the same convention within the lab to avoid confusion, but write out the full word for publication and define any abbreviation as we would any other abbreviation.

    I like the system used by the folks working with fruit flies! Basically, just pick a fun name that doesn't mean anything, just a good abbreviation that's fun to say. Considering how often a newly discovered gene or protein turns out to have a completely different function from what is initially thought, it saves a lot of trouble with names that don't fit the function. And it's better than naming things after the discoverer too...besides, that only works for the first thing you discover, then you still have to come up with new names after that.
     
  11. May 11, 2004 #10

    iansmith

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    In microbiologies, it seems that the convention I described above it spread to pretty all major journals. It is also becoming the most accepted convention and we were thought that convention and other nomemclature that are related to genetics elements such as mutation, allele and transposons.

    For species distinction, you also can see a subscript of the first letter of the genus with the letter of species after the protein/gene name.

    Also I find that given those funny name is just a waste of time when you are student and make your life hard when you have to study. It is easier to know what a protein does when the three letters are the abbreviate of the function and not some weird name somebody made. When you don't have to study for a test, these names and the story crack me up everytime.
     
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