International Mammalian Genome Society

The 13th International Mouse Genome Conference
October 31-November 3, 1999

Table of Contents * Structure * Bioinformatics * Sequence * Mapping * New Tools * Gene Discovery * Developmental * Mutagenesis * Functional Genomics

B7 What's New in Nomenclature

Lois J. Maltais, Judith A. Blake, Janan T. Eppig, Muriel T. Davisson. The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

With the ever-increasing amount of sequence information being generated and the subsequent publication of new genes, assigning genes into gene families is now the focal point of the Mouse and Human Nomenclature Committees. Though at present there is no clear definition of 'gene family', grouping genes by similar function, sequence, or phenotype enhances the identification of genes and contributes to a more manageable system of naming and symbolizing genes. If a gene is known to belong to a particular family or if a gene becomes further characterized for a gene family, a common root symbol is assigned with sequential numbering. This system allows for gene interrelationships to be apparent in a logical and meaningful manner. The MGI Nomenclature Committee in collaboration with the International Committee on Standardized Nomenclature for Mice seeks the advice from those prominent in research areas for placing newly identified genes into their respective families. The Mouse and Human Nomenclature Committees cooperate in assigning identical symbols to orthologous genes within families. Both the mouse and human nomenclature Web pages ( and provide links to various gene family Web pages for those interested in a particular gene family. In addition, the mouse nomenclature Web page provides information for the researcher in submitting a new gene or groups of genes for symbol and name approval.

In view of the current interest in gene families and the associated nomenclature issues, the Mouse and Human Nomenclature Committees organized the Second International Nomenclature Workshop (INW2), which was held at Welcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, UK, May 1 and 2, 1999. Representatives from species nomenclature committees, experts from known gene families, managers and curators from various databases, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry discussed issues pertaining to gene family nomenclature, the future role of nomenclature committees, and ways to deal with the increased volume of genetic data. A synopsis of this workshop will be published in Genomics.

MGD is supported by NIH grant HG00330.


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