The Australian researchers found that roughly 1 in 5 of these papers included errors in their gene lists that were due to Excel automatically converting gene names to things like calendar dates or random numbers.*Previously: The Baroness's scarred look in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #12 is based on a printing error in the original G.I. Joe series
You see, genes are often referred to in scientific literature by symbols — essentially shortened versions of full gene names. The gene "Septin 2" is typically shortened as SEPT2. "Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase" gets mercifully shortened to MARCH1.
But when you type these shortened gene names into Excel, the program automatically assumes they refer to dates
Even more troubling
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
"An alarming number of scientific papers contain Excel errors"
WaPo from a couple of weeks ago: