About the VGNC

The Vertebrate Gene Nomenclature Committee (VGNC) is an extension of the established HGNC (HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee) project that names human genes. VGNC is responsible for assigning standardized names to genes in vertebrate species that currently lack a nomenclature committee. The VGNC also coordinates with the 5 existing vertebrate nomenclature committees, MGNC (mouse), RGNC (rat), CGNC (chicken), XNC (Xenopus frog) and ZNC (zebrafish), to ensure genes are named in line with their human homologs.

The VGNC uses a software pipeline based on the HGNC Consensus Orthology Predictions (HCOP) tool to transfer human nomenclature to other species automatically for genes where the same orthologs are predicted by four different resources (Ensembl, NCBI Gene, OMA and PANTHER). For genes where there is no such consensus ortholog prediction, naming is based on a combination of a semi-automated pipeline and manual curation, taking into account synteny, phylogeny and other data. We also rely on the expertise of specialist advisors for naming within complex families. Two key complex families are the olfactory receptors (ORs) - the largest family in mammalian genomes - and the cytochrome P450s (CYPs); we are collaborating with Drs David Nelson and Jed Goldstone for the CYPs and Drs Doron Lancet and Tsviya Olender for the ORs.

The VGNC initially began with naming chimpanzee and expanded to horse, cattle and dog and then added cat and macaque. We also have gene nomenclature data for specific gene families for several other species. Please see our "Species List" page for a complete list of the species we cover.

The VGNC naming process will be extended to other species in due course. Our criteria for choosing further vertebrate species are the quality of the genome assembly and annotation, the perceived value as a research organism and the level of support from the scientific community. Please contact us at vgnc@genenames.org with suggestions on which species should be our next choices for gene naming.

The HGNC guidelines for human gene naming have recently been updated and now also include a section on naming across vertebrates, please see the naming orthologs across species section.