New & Noteworthy

Updates to legacy gene names

November 05, 2021

SGD has long been the keeper of the official Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene nomenclature. Robert Mortimer handed over this responsibility to SGD in 1993 after maintaining the yeast genetic map and gene nomenclature for 30 years. 

The accepted format for gene names in S. cerevisiae comprises three uppercase letters followed by a number. The letters typically signify a phrase (referred to as the “Name Description” in SGD) that provides information about a function, mutant phenotype, or process related to that gene, for example “ADE” for “ADEnine biosynthesis” or “CDC” for “Cell Division Cycle”. Gene names for many types of chromosomal features follow this basic format regardless of the type of feature named, whether an ORF, a tRNA, another type of non-coding RNA, an ARS, or a genetic locus. Some S. cerevisiae gene names that pre-date the current nomenclature standards do not conform to this format, such as MRLP38RPL1A, and OM45

A few historical gene names predate both the nomenclature standards and the database, and were less computer-friendly than more recent gene names, due to the presence of punctuation. SGD recently updated these gene names to be consistent with current standards and to be more software-friendly by removing punctuation. The old names for these four genes have been retained as aliases.

ORFOld gene nameNew gene name
YGL234WADE5,7ADE57
YER069WARG5,6ARG56
YBR208CDUR1,2DUR12
YIL154CIMP2′IMP21

Categories: Data updates, Announcements

Tags: gene nomenclature

SGD Help Video: Gene Name Reservation

July 13, 2015


The eminent Drosophila geneticist Michael Ashburner famously said: “Biologists would rather share their toothbrush than share a gene name.” It’s true that assigning names to genes is often a sticky subject.

In the Saccharomyces cerevisiae community we’re very lucky to have well-defined guidelines for genetic nomenclature,¬†an established system for reserving gene names, and criteria for making them “standard,” or official, names. This system was agreed upon by yeast researchers nearly two decades ago and has served the community well.

Take a look at this video to get an overview of how the gene naming system works. And as always, please contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Categories: Tutorial

Tags: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, video, gene nomenclature

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