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Our sites www.genenames.org and vertebrate.genenames.org are now HTTPS compliant at the request of many of our users and will redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS. Our REST (rest.genenames.org) and BioMart (biomart.genenames.org) services are also HTTPS compliant however; we have decided that these services should also continue to serve via HTTP.

We are pleased to announce that the VGNC is now assigning unique symbols, names and numerical identifiers to chimpanzee, horse, cow and dog genes, based on consensus orthology to human genes. Please contact us at vgnc@genenames.org with feedback on the nomenclature or the functionality of the VGNC website.

We have recently added RNAcentral IDs to the ‘nucleotide sequences’ section of the appropriate non-coding RNA Symbol Reports. For example, see the URS000075AC83 ID on the ZEB1-AS1 Symbol Report. Clicking on the adjacent RNAcentral link takes you through to the RNAcentral sequence record. The mapped RNAcentral IDs are fully searchable on genenames.org.

We are delighted to announce that RNAcentral are using HGNC data as a source of human non-coding RNAs. As a result, HGNC gene names are being displayed on RNAcentral sequence records. For more information on how RNAcentral have mapped in our gene names, read their blog.

The Vertebrate Gene Nomenclature Committee (VGNC) is an extension of the HGNC. VGNC is responsible for assigning standardized names to genes in vertebrate species that currently lack a nomenclature committee. The 6 existing vertebrate nomenclature committees and VGNC coordinate to ensure genes are named in line with their human homologs. We also rely on the expertise of specialist advisors for naming within complex families.

Our new BioMart server using the latest BioMart (0.9.0) code has been released. Despite looking very different the new service retains an easy to use interface, include our gene family data in addition to the gene symbol report dataset, and allows our users to access and query a lot more of the HGNC data than was previously possible. See our BioMart help for more information.

Researchers have shown that restoring the protein encoded by Snx27 in the mouse model for Down syndrome improves cognitive function and behaviour. It is suggested that the extra copy of chromosome 21 in people with Down Syndrome triggers the loss of the SNX27 protein and could be the cause of learning and memory problems associated with the condition.

Researchers have transfected guinea pig hearts with a copy of the human TBX18 gene to create a new biological pacemaker that controls heartbeat.  The TBX18 gene is active in human embryonic hearts at the stage where pacemaker cells are formed.  The study has led to hopes that the technique may work for human hearts in the future.  For more on this story see www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20713986.

Studies in mice have cast light on why mutations in the SYNGAP1 gene cause intellectual disability in humans.  Mice carrying mutated copies of Syngap1 showed above average levels of synaptic communication between neurons.  It is thought that this results in disruption of brain development.  For more on this story, see www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20251119.

A recent study has found that specific variants of the PARK2 gene are associated with lumbar disc degeneration.  The disc degeneration causes nearby vertebrae to develop osteophytes, resulting in lower back pain.  For more on this story see www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19674045