1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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Point of View: Hypothesis, analysis and synthesis, it's all Greek to me

  1. Ioannis Iliopoulos  Is a corresponding author
  2. Sophia Ananiadou
  3. Antoine Danchin
  4. John PA Ioannidis
  5. Peter D Katsikis
  6. Christos A Ouzounis  Is a corresponding author
  7. Vasilis J Promponas  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Crete, Greece
  2. University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  3. Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, France
  4. University of Hong Kong, China
  5. Stanford University, United States
  6. Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands
  7. Centre for Research & Technology Hellas, Greece
  8. University of Cyprus, Cyprus
Feature Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e43514 doi: 10.7554/eLife.43514
2 tables and 4 additional files


Table 1
A selection of terms ending with the suffix -some that appear in the scientific literature.

The term prostasome, which first showed up in PubMed in 1982, appeared in 218 PubMed records as of July 28, 2018. However, other terms ending with -some have proved much less popular.

TermDefinitionContextNumber of PubMed recordsYear of first appearance
catansomecatanionic vesiclesynthetic biochemistry, surfactants22008
ejectisomeextrusive organellecell biology and physiology161984
histrosomea type of ejectisomecell biology and physiology12015
hyposomecellular structuredDinoflagellate biology72010
prostasomeprostate gland vesiclesperm mobility and physiology2181982
remosomeremodeled nucleosomenon-canonical chromatin structure22010
Table 2
A selection of terms that combine a Greek preposition and the suffix -genome.

Some terms that the authors believe could be useful in genome biology.

PrepositionTermPossible definition/interpretation
anaanagenomecould be used to describe usage over time, to monitor population variation
amphiamphigenomecould be used to describe polyploid genomes, and sex differences
apoapogenomecould be used to convey non-DNA large scale analysis
diadiagenomecould be a useful concept for comparative genomics
eiseisgenomecould be a useful term for substance use
ekecgenomealternative for exo-genomics (see text)
enengenomealternative for endo-genomics (see text)
katakatagenomecould be a vey useful term to describe developmental processes over time
paraparagenomecould be used to describe the genomics of paralogs (although this is not satisfactory from an etymological point of view)
periperigenomecould be a very useful term to describe developmental processes over space
prosprosgenomecould be used to describe synthetic genomes
synsyngenomecould be used to describe the genomics of symbioses
hypohypogenomecould be used to describe a synthetic genome with depleted functions – as opposed to hyper-genome to describe a synthetic genome with added functions

Data availability

The supplementary files for this paper and other related information is available at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5493133.v2. Etymology of the select terms of Greek origin: http://troodos.biol.ucy.ac.cy/Etymology.html.

Additional files

Supplementary file 1

The 243 words that appear in at least one million PubMed records.

Supplementary file 2

The 172 words with rich meaning (nouns, adjectives and verb forms) that appear in at least one million PubMed records. A part-of-speech tagger was used to classify the words under consideration (https://cst.dk/tools/index.php).

Supplementary file 3

The 152 words with rich meaning and four or more characters that appear in at least one million PubMed records.

Supplementary file 4

A search string containing the 152 words with rich meaning and four or more characters that appear in at least one million PubMed records. The search that excludes the 15 Greek terms is generated automatically at the following URL: https://tinyurl.com/y7kflbcb


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