Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates

Found on The Verge on Friday, 07 August 2020
Browse Science

Each gene is given a name and alphanumeric code, known as a symbol, which scientists use to coordinate research. But over the past year or so, some 27 human genes have been renamed, all because Microsoft Excel kept misreading their symbols as dates.

This is extremely frustrating, even dangerous, corrupting data that scientists have to sort through by hand to restore. It’s also surprisingly widespread and affects even peer-reviewed scientific work. One study from 2016 examined genetic data shared alongside 3,597 published papers and found that roughly one-fifth had been affected by Excel errors.

They should just drop Excel and use something that works. When a program tries to be smart and messed with the inserted data, it gets uninstalled. Simple as that.