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Those geneticists and their Excel

Mistaken Identifiers: Gene name errors can be introduced inadvertently when using Excel in bioinformatics

If you are too lazy to get to the punchline:

"MatchMiner [1] and GoMiner [2] are two bioinformatics program packages we
published recently in another Biomed Central Journal, Genome Biology. When we
were beta-testing those programs on microarray data, a frustrating problem
occurred repeatedly: Some gene names kept bouncing back as "unknown." A little
detective work revealed the reason: Use of one of the research community's most
valuable and extensively applied tools for manipulation of genomic data can
introduce erroneous names. A default date conversion feature in Excel (Microsoft
Corp., Redmond, WA) was altering gene names that it considered to look like
dates. For example, the tumor suppressor DEC1 [Deleted in Esophageal Cancer 1]
[3] was being converted to '1-DEC.' Figure 1 lists 30 gene names that suffer an
analogous fate."

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