The Meaning of Red

A previous post in Manuel Corpas’ Blog in March 2010 noted that there was disagreement among the leading Copy Number Variation (CNV) repositories in one small but significant detail. Some of them displayed gains in green, others in blue. The same with loses: no consensus existed in the way deleted regions were colored. Not agreeing to such an obvious standard was troublesome for users, especially when comparing data from different resources.

I am pleased to know that decision makers in DECIPHER, the Database of Genomic Variants, ISCA, the NCBI and the UCSC Genome browser have finally agreed on a common color scheme that defines gains in blue and loses in red. To be more precise, here are the hexadecimal colors:

  • #0000FF (blue): gain
  • #FF0000 (red):  loss

Part of the drive in agreeing to this standard has been prompted by some users affected of color blindness who complained that they were not able to distinguish between red and green. This trigger accelerated the change.

Having a common standard coloring scheme will not only help color blind people but all users. A consistent way of illustrating gains and loses means all users will be able to grasp the science more quickly. This is great news for the whole community and a cause for celebration.

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