The risks of using unapproved gene symbols

Am J Hum Genet. 2021 Oct 7;108(10):1813-1816. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.09.004.


The use of approved nomenclature in publications is vital to enable effective scientific communication and is particularly crucial when discussing genes of clinical relevance. Here, we discuss several examples of cases where the failure of researchers to use a HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC)-approved symbol in publications has led to confusion between unrelated human genes in the literature. We also inform authors of the steps they can take to ensure that they use approved nomenclature in their manuscripts and discuss how referencing HGNC IDs can remove ambiguity when referring to genes that have previously been published with confusing alias symbols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Genetic / standards*
  • Genes / genetics*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Research Personnel / standards*
  • Terminology as Topic*