It's been a while since I handed out any JABBA awards (Just Another Bogus Bioinformatics Acronym). These are awarded to developers of bioinformatics tools who name their software using tenuously derived acronyms or initalisms. Both awardees featured in a recent issue of Nucleic Acids Research. First up, we have:
I'm aways slightly worried when the publication doesn't reveal the source of an acronym. I had to go to the I-TASSER website to find out the grim truth:
Iterative Threading ASSEmbly Refinement
It's not an altogether terrible name, but to me it doesn't include any mention of protein structure or function prediction (which is the purpose of the tool). Even if you see this full name written down somewhere, one might assume that it is something to with other types of assembly?
Next up is a software tool which has a nice short name:
Just five letters in the name, they probably correspond neatly to five words in the software's full name, right? Er, no.
Signature-based ClUstering for DiagnOstic purposes
This is one of the most tenuous initialisms that I have seen. In these situations, I would urge developers to really not try to make into an acronym or intialism at all. Just calling the tool 'SCUDO' would be preferable — in my opinion — than trying to use such a clumsy initialism.