Comparative genomics is an essential component of the post-genomic era. The chicken genome is the first avian genome to be sequenced and it will serve as a model for other avian species. Moreover, due to its unique evolutionary niche, the chicken genome can be used to understand evolution of functional elements and gene regulation in mammalian species. However comparative biology both within avian species and within amniotes is hampered due to the difficulty of recognising functional orthologs. This problem is compounded as different databases and sequence repositories proliferate and the names they assign to functional elements proliferate along with them. Currently, genes can be published under more than one name and one name sometimes refers to unrelated genes. Standardized gene nomenclature is necessary to facilitate communication between scientists and genomic resources. Moreover, it is important that this nomenclature be based on existing nomenclature efforts where possible to truly facilitate studies between different species. We report here the formation of the Chicken Gene Nomenclature Committee (CGNC), an international and centralized effort to provide standardized nomenclature for chicken genes. The CGNC works in conjunction with public resources such as NCBI and Ensembl and in consultation with existing nomenclature committees for human and mouse. The CGNC will develop standardized nomenclature in consultation with the research community and relies on the support of the research community to ensure that the nomenclature facilitates comparative and genomic studies.
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