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Elife. 2019 Feb 20;8. pii: e43514. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43514.

Hypothesis, analysis and synthesis, it's all Greek to me.

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Division of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece.
School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.
School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, SAR Hong Kong, China.
Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford, University of Stanford, Stanford, United States.
Department of Immunology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Biological Computation & Process Lab, Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute, Centre for Research & Technology Hellas, Thessalonica, Greece.
Bioinformatics Research Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus.


The linguistic foundations of science and technology include many terms that have been borrowed from ancient languages. In the case of terms with origins in the Greek language, the modern meaning can often differ significantly from the original one. Here we use the PubMed database to demonstrate the prevalence of words of Greek origin in the language of modern science, and call for scientists to exercise care when coining new terms.


computational biology; etymology; genetics; genomics; history of science; none; scientific language; systems biology

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