"Autocorrection, or predictive text, is a common feature of many modern tech
tools, from internet searches to messaging apps and word processors.
Autocorrection can be a blessing, but when the algorithm makes mistakes it can
change the message in dramatic and sometimes hilarious ways.
Our research shows autocorrect errors, particularly in Excel spreadsheets, can
also make a mess of gene names in genetic research. We surveyed more than
10,000 papers with Excel gene lists published between 2014 and 2020 and found
more than 30% contained at least one gene name mangled by autocorrect.
This research follows our 2016 study that found around 20% of papers contained
these errors, so the problem may be getting worse. We believe the lesson for
researchers is clear: it’s past time to stop using Excel and learn to use more
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics