I was doing a bit of reading on Wikipedia tonight and came upon a reference to The Hedgehog Signaling Pathway. I had no idea what it was referring to, but knew it had something to do with genetics and thought it was a silly name so I decided to read more.
I didn’t have to read long before I noticed this sentence, “Mammals have three Hedgehog homologues, of which Sonic hedgehog is the best studied.” Thank you Wikipedia for linking everything that has an entry. Of course, I stopped reading about silly hedgehog pathways. I want to read about Sonic the Hedgehog! Again, I understood very little of what I was reading, but was intrigued.
Musing out loud about whether the name for the video game actually came from protein or if Wikipedia was having one of its “wee! Anyone can edit me!” moments, Dave very confidently asked, “Katie, who do we know who is a scientist?”
I replied, “Jesse Berezovsky”.
“Ok, who else?” he urged.
“Um, Molly Swanson” I answered again, puzzled.
Finally, he explained, “Now, what do you think they would name things if they discovered them?”
Right. Point taken. It’s always fun to be reminded that scientists are freaks and geeks just like my friends and me.
For more info about the controversy surrounding creative and fun naming of genes, check out the New York Times article. It’s a good read and brings up a good point about patient sensitivity.
Oh, and I have to ask…if you discovered a gene, what would you name it?