Venn figures go wrong

6-way Venn banana

6-way Venn banana

I thought nothing could top the classic “6-way Venn banana“, featured in The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants.

That is until I saw Figure 3 from Compact genome of the Antarctic midge is likely an adaptation to an extreme environment.

5-way Venn roadkill

5-way Venn roadkill

What’s odd is that Figure 2 in the latter paper is a nice, clear R/ggplot2 creation, using facet_grid(), so someone knew what they were doing.

That aside, the Antarctic midge paper is an interesting read; go check it out.

This led to some amusing Twitter discussion which pointed me to *A New Rose : The First Simple Symmetric 11-Venn Diagram.

[*] +1 for referencing The Damned, if indeed that was the intention.

3 thoughts on “Venn figures go wrong

      1. Nils Gehlenborg

        Shameless plug: we got kind of upset about seeing these in scientific publications over and over again and we did something about it. See for example our Nature Methods Points of View column ( and try UpSet ( The UpSet paper ( has a case study demonstrating how UpSet can be applied to compare variant calls from multiple callers/configurations. See Figure 13 and Supplementary Figures 5, 6 & 7.

Comments are closed.