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HGNC Newsletter Spring 2009

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A new arrival

We are extremely pleased to announce that Elspeth now has a baby boy. His name is Tiernan and he was born on 13th February 2009.

Email problems

In late February and early March we experienced some problems receiving our mail. If we have not replied to a message you sent us during this time, then please resend your message or contact us using our FeedBack form at

Ribosomal protein pseudogenes

In collaboration with Bonnie Maidak and Donna Maglott of The Reference Sequence (RefSeq) Project we have named and incorporated over 1,800 newly characterised processed ribosomal protein pseudogenes into our database. The majority of these pseudogenes were recently identified and published by Mark Gerstein's group at Yale University, see Balasubramanian et al., 2009; PMID: 19123937.

Introducing the HGNC forum

We are pleased to introduce our new capability to host nomenclature discussions between many different researchers and ourselves. The HGNC forum is organised into separate password-protected subject boards so that each nomenclature forum can only be viewed and updated by its own members. Each forum will be moderated by a member of the HGNC. We hope this new format will promote many productive discussions. If you have any nomenclature problems that you think could be solved using a forum, please contact us at

HERV nomenclature forum

Our first nomenclature forum is to discuss the development of a stable nomenclature for transcriptionally active human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). If you are interested in joining this discussion, please send a message to

HCOP update

The HCOP search tool orthology assertions between human and chicken have been updated with links to the chicken genome annotation tool hosted by the Roslin Institute. We plan to add orthology data for the species S. cerevisiae, cow and C. elegans to HCOP in the near future.

Meeting Attended

Ruth attended the Second International Genomic Impact of Transposable Elements conference from 6th-10th February in Asilomar, California. She gave a joint presentation with Jens Mayer, an endogenous retrovirus researcher, entitled "The need for an approved nomenclature for (human) endogenous retroviruses". This presentation was the starting point of the ongoing forum discussion mentioned above.

Forthcoming meetings

Susan and Ruth will be attending the Third International Biocuration Conference from 16th to 19th April in Berlin, Germany, where they will be presenting a poster entitled "HGNC: The why and how of standardised gene nomenclature". They are looking forward to meeting many other biocurators and learning about their projects.

Matt will be attending the 14th annual meeting of the RNA Society held in Madison, Wisconsin, USA from 26th-31st May. He will present a poster entitled 'Naming non-protein coding RNA genes'.

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