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27 human genes renamed to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates

Team Udayavani, Aug 8, 2020, 12:07 PM IST

27 human genes have been renamed to stop Microsoft’s Excel from misreading their alphanumeric symbols as dates.

Scientists assign an alphanumeric code to human genes, known as a symbol, to coordinate their research

According to NXG News, Excel is regularly used by scientists to track their work and even conduct clinical trials. But its default settings were designed with more mundane applications in mind, so when a user inputs a gene’s alphanumeric symbol into a spreadsheet, like MARCH1 short for “Membrane Associated Ring-CH-Type Finger 1”,  Excel converts that into a date: 1-Mar.

HGNC this week published new guidelines for gene naming, including for “symbols that affect data handling and retrieval”

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