Opinion: Standardizing gene product nomenclature—a call to action

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
January 19, 2021 118 (3)


Opinion: Standardizing gene product nomenclature—a call to action
Kenji Fujiyoshi, Elspeth A. Bruford, Pawel Mroz, Cynthe L. Sims, Timothy J. O’Leary, Anthony W. I. Lo, Neng Chen, Nimesh R. Patel, Keyur Pravinchandra Patel, Barbara Seliger, Mingyang Song, Federico A. Monzon, Alexis B. Carter, Margaret L. Gulley, Susan M. Mockus, Thuy L. Phung, Harriet Feilotter, Heather E. Williams, and Shuji Ogino
PNAS January 19, 2021 118 (3) e2025207118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2025207118
The current lack of a standardized nomenclature system for gene products (e.g., proteins) has resulted in a haphazard counterproductive system of labeling. Different names are often used for the same gene product; the same name is sometimes used for unrelated gene products. Such ambiguity causes not only potential harm to patients, whose treatments increasingly rely on laboratory tests for multiple gene products, but also miscommunication and inefficiency, both of which hinder progress of broad scientific fields. To mitigate this confusion, we recommend standardizing human protein nomenclature through the use of a Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) gene symbol accompanied by its unique HGNC ID. We call for action across all biomedical communities and scientific and medical journals to standardize nomenclature of gene products using HGNC gene symbols to enhance accuracy in scientific and public communication.