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HGNC Newsletter Winter 2008

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There are currently 26392 approved symbols

We would like to wish everyone a happy festive season and the very best start to 2009

We would like to notify you all that the office will be closed from 24th December to 5th January. We would also like to let you know that Elspeth will be away on maternity leave from mid January. During this time, the group will be in the capable hands of Matt and we can still be contacted in the normal way via our e-mail address:

Announcing the new HGNC BioMart

We are happy to announce the new HGNC BioMart data mining tool is now up and running. BioMart is a search tool that can be adapted to mine different sorts of data and versions of the tool are used by many other projects, including Ensembl, WormBase, VectorBase and Reactome. You can try our BioMart at: Please read the QuickStart Guide. If you have any questions regarding this tool, please e-mail the address shown above.

HCOP update

The HCOP search tool has a new text mode output. To use this new function, check the 'return data as text' box and HCOP will return its results as an 'IT friendly' tab delimited text file.


Harmar AJ, ..., Wright MW, Spedding M. IUPHAR-DB: the IUPHAR database of G protein-coupled receptors and ion channels. Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 18948278

Manjunath P, Lefebvre J, Jois PS, Fan J, Wright MW. New Nomenclature for Mammalian BSP Genes. Biol Reprod. 2008 Oct 15. PMID: 18923155

Kahn RA, Bruford E, ..., Cassel D. Consensus nomenclature for the human ArfGAP domain-containing proteins. J Cell Biol. 2008 Sep 22;182(6):1039-44. PMID: 18809720


microRNA update

Working in collaboration with miRBase we have provided approved gene symbols for all of the ~700 currently identified human miRNAs. At the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the RNA Society in Berlin in July, Matt was approached by researchers requesting a change from the approved stem symbol of 'MIRN' to the ubiquitously used 'MIR'. As this is a request that we have previously received on a number of occasions, we have now made this change, e.g. MIRN100 is now MIR100.

Meetings Attended

Elspeth was lucky enough to attend the 13th HUGO Human Genome Meeting, HGM2008, from 27th-30th September in Hyderabad, India. She presented a poster on "The HGNC Database: an essential resource for the human genome", and for the first time HGNC shared a booth with Ensembl, manned by Xose Fernandez and Elspeth, which also provided information on services available from the EMBL. The conference was very well attended, and the booth (and HGNC pens!) proved very popular.

Elspeth and Matt attended the 58th American Society of Human Genetics meeting held in Philadelphia, USA, from 11th-15th November. They presented a poster on the activities of the HGNC entitled "The HGNC database: an essential resource for the human genome". They also shared a booth in the exhibition hall with the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO), where they welcomed researchers with queries about gene nomenclature.

Forthcoming meetings

Ruth will be attending the 2nd International Conference and Workshop - Genomic Impact of Eukaryotic Transposable Elements in early February. This is due to our interest in agreeing upon a standardized nomenclature for transcriptionally active endogenous retroviruses. She will be giving a joint presentation on this subject with Jens Mayer of the University of Saarland, who is an expert in the field. If you have any comments or ideas on endogenous retrovirus nomenclature, please contact us

If you would like to be added to our HGNC Newsletter mailing list or if you have questions or comments on any human gene nomenclature issue, please email us at:

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