Scientists had to rename many genes that baffled Microsoft Excel

As practice has shown, Microsoft Excel, familiar to everyone, is a serious headache for geneticists. The thing is that the names of many genes are extremely similar to calendar dates, which Microsoft Excel willingly and without asking anyone translates into its own format.

And since Microsoft, for obvious reasons, is not going to modernize its product specifically for the needs of geneticists, scientists had to rename 27 human genes (for example, MARCH1). The work took about a year and recently a memo on the new names was published in the scientific community.

Excel is an essential tool for any company or scientific lab - but it is renowned for its highly aggressive auto-formatting. And since all the data entered into it has to be corrected twice: first, it must be done by the scientist who enters it into the program, and then by the user who downloaded this data and inadvertently started auto-formatting, then some errors slip unnoticed. In 2016, the journal Genome Biology investigated and reported that approximately 20% of the 3, 597 genetics articles it studied contained Excel errors.

According to the rules developed by scientists, all genes found will now receive names that cannot start autocorrect in Microsoft Excel - for example, the MARCH1 gene is now called MARCHF1, and SEPT1 is SEPTIN1.