DNA Recommendations

Conversion Variant


a sequence change where, compared to a reference sequence, a range of nucleotides are replaced by a sequence from elsewhere in the genome


Format: “prefix”“positions_converted”“con”“positions_replacing_sequence”, e.g. g.123_345con888_1110

“prefix” = reference sequence used = g.
“positions_converted” = range of nucleotides converted = g.123_345
“con” = type of change is a conversion = con
“positions_replacing_sequence” = description of replacing sequence = 888_1110


  • prefix reference sequences accepted are g., m., c. and n. (genomic, mitochondrial, coding DNA and non-coding DNA)
  • the region converted (“positions_converted”) should start and end with a variant nucleotide
  • for all descriptions the most 3’ position possible of the reference sequence is arbitrarily assigned to have been changed (3’rule)
    • the 3’rule applies to ALL descriptions (genome, gene, transcript and protein) of a given variant
  • under discussion, see Proposal for complex variants
    { } (curly braces) can be used to list any change in the converted sequence (“positions_replacing_sequence”) which is different when compared to the source, e.g. g.123_345con888_1110{999A>G}


  • g.333_590con1844_2101
    conversion replacing nucleotides g.333 to g.590 with nucleotides g.1844 to g.2101 from the same genomic reference sequence
  • g.415_1655conAC096506.5:g.409_1683
    conversion replacing nucleotides g.414 to g.1655 with nucleotides g.409 to g.1683 as found in the genomic reference sequence AC096506.5
  • NC_000022.10:g.42522624_42522669con42536337_42536382
    conversion in exon 9 of the CYP2D6 gene replacing exon 9 nucleotides g.42522624 to g.42522669 with those of the 3’ flanking CYP2D7P1 gene, nucleotides g.42536337 to g.42536382
  • c.15_355conNM_004006.1:20_360
    conversion replacing nucleotides c.15 to c.355 with nucleotides c.20 to c.360 as found in the coding DNA sequence file NM_004006.1


What is a "conversion"?

Conversions, gene conversions, result from a nonreciprocal transfer of genetic information between two sites in the genome. The two sites often contain homologous sequences, e.g. two homologous genes. The two sites can be anywhere in the genome but are in reality often not far apart on one chromosome. After a (gene) conversion event the two sites have an identical sequence.

Why not describe the variants independently?

The converted segment is usually of considerable length (several hundred nucleotides) and will contain a whole series of sequence changes. Describing these changes all independently will make the description lengthy and rather complex. In such cases it is recommended to describe the change as a conversion using "con".