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I am a biologist and frequently encounter the words 'upregulated' and 'downregulated' in the literature. Appropriately, these words are flagged by my browser spell-checker; they don't seem to be very widely recognized outside of the biology community, and I find them quite ugly.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions for (ideally) single words or concise phrases that convey the same meaning: increased or decreased in a controlled or causative manner by the action of some external factor.

A general use case: "In experiment A, we determined that gene B was upregulated upon exposure to toxin C, while genes D, E, and F were downregulated."

Of course I could say that 'expression of gene B was increased by/in response to...' but 'B was upregulated' is so much shorter. Surely, though, there must be some way to convey this concisely without using such an annoying construction as 'upregulated'.

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  • $\begingroup$ Biologists probably made up “up/downregulated” just because they could find no better fitting term. $\endgroup$
    – user 66974
    Jan 28 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ Augmented and diminished? $\endgroup$
    – Prime Mover
    Jan 28 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Scientists and engineers often look for "elegant" solutions. More often than not they are forced to agree with Kepler's in vino veritas remarks on his own theories... $\endgroup$
    – Cascabel
    Jan 28 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ I really think this is not a biological question but a matter of style, and style is subject to personal opinion. I have published dozens of papers, but so have other people, and whereas I believe in calling a spade a spade, others prefer to describe it as a manual excavation solution. And the context is relevant: in a results section I would say precisely what was observed — no upstairs downstairs — whereas in an introduction or discussion I would be more inclined to use broader terms. But I would use as many words as necessary (I hate one-word requests on ELU) and technical terms if need be. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jan 28 at 23:06
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There's a reason why you encounter these words so frequently - they are widely understood, concise descriptions that almost any biologist will understand immediately. Almost any other terms you use in their place will only serve to obfuscate the actual biological phenomenon you're talking about.

That said, I've seen the words overexpressed and underexpressed to describe genes that are upregulated or downregulated, but they're not any less cumbersome words, nor are they used any more frequently outside the domain of biology. There are also may be some connotations about the cause of the effect, so there may be subtle differences between upregulation and overexpression depending on who you ask. I don't think there's any better terms than upregulation and downregulation for describing an effect of increased/decreased gene expression.

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