Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature
Mark Isaak
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Gene Names: Other

bubble-bath An arabidopsis gene, loss of which results in a larger number of small vesicles, giving the cell the appearance of being filled with bubbles.
callipyge meaning "beautiful buttocks." The gene, identified from sheep, affects muscle growth on their bottoms.
CINNABUN - an Arabidopsis gene.
DDT This stands for D-dopachrome tautomerase [Esumi et al, 1998, Mamm. Genome 9(9): 753]. It is unrelated to the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane.
Diablo - a key protein involved in cell death (also known as Second Mitochondria-Derived Activator of Caspases, or SMAC)
FucM The mammalian gene for fucose mutarotase enzyme, involved in incorporating fucose into protein. Female mice that lack this gene refuse to let males mount them, and will attempt copulation with other female mice.
lunatic fringe
radical fringe [Science 7/19/1996]
Similar to Mothers Against Decapentaplegic (SMAD) homologous to the Drosophila MAD gene.
sonic hedgehog
indian hedgehog
desert hedgehog
tiggywinkle hedgehog (in zebrafish)
JAK - called "Janus Kinase" when it was published, but originally it stood for "Just Another Kinase."
Jordan element - named after Michael Jordan for its extraordinary capacity to jump around the genome of the simple plant Volvox.
LEUNIG and SEUSS - Two Arabidopsis genes named after cartoonists, which function together to regulate flower development.
PENNYWISE - An Arabidopsis gene named after a California punk rock band. It functions in conjunction with the gene POUND-FOOLISH.
Pokemon - formerly a cancer-causing gene in humans and mice, an acronym for "POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic." It is now being called Zbtb7 after Pokémon USA threatened a lawsuit over trademark. [Nature 438: 897.]
RING - "really interesting new gene"
superman - a flower-related gene in Arabidopsis.
kryptonite - a gene which supresses superman.
supervillin - a protein, encoded by the SVIL gene, believed to be involved in actin filament assembly. It is so named because it is the largest known member of the villin/gelsolin superfamily of proteins.
TOPLESS - an Arabidopsis gene, sufficiently descriptive. [Science 319: 1384]
Tsix - the antisense gene of Xist (inactive X-specific transcript).
ZapA (a virulence factor of Proteus mirabilis) after Frank Zappa. [J. Bacteriol. 177(20)] (more details)

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