simple is beautiful

Luca Comai comai at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Sat Sep 18 17:37:04 EST 1993


Dear Net, 
simple is beautiful. Let's keep the nomenclature that way. I understand the
attractiveness of a name that tells you more, but, in my experience it never
works.
	Here is an anecdote. I now of labs that have attempted to enclose a lot of
information in a plasmid name. They have come up with plasmid designations such
as: pPooP.32.tr.01.ex.3,451. The savvy reader would of course know that such a
plasmid carries a partial clone of the "oop" gene, it was made on the 32nd
quarter of that lab existence (32),  from turtle DNA (tr), is the first of a
long series (01), was tested in an expression system (ex) and carries a 3,451 bp
insert. However, the name is impossible to use: think of giving a seminar on
research using ten plasmids of this type....
	Beware weed-growers! If we start attaching dominance designations to names, it
may open the floodgate of "designationism". Yeah, I see the time coming when a
mutation name will go as follows:
flp1-1.D.flw-rt.5.HWP.JB.fmnite.JIR6,89
We will then all know that the flippy-1 mutation is dominant (D) and it causes
flowers to appear on the root (flw-rt), it maps on chromosome five (5), it
results in a plant which is height-weight proportionate (HWP), it was isolated
by Joe Blow (JB) on a full moon night (fmnite), and was first published on the
Journal of irreproducible results,  vol. 6, p. 89 (JIR etc..).

Luca Comai
UW
Seattle




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