Funny Gene Names

When you discover a gene/protein/other cool biological thing, you get to name it. Some people choose really boring names, like interleukin-27. But others are more creative with their naming… I’m particularly fond of the following ‘cuz of their fun names:

Sometimes, a lot of people “discover” the same protein and so it gets a lot of names, like Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), which is also known as: Cbfa1, Osf2, AML3, Til1, and Pebp2 αA or PPB2αA… talk about having an identity crisis!

After writing my list, I Googled “funny gene names” to see what other funny names are out their and discovered on this site that there are waaaaaaay better gene names that I’ve never heard of before (probably the best on this list are “cheap date”, “lunatic fringe”, “grim” and “reaper” (which work together to control cell death), and “INDY, which makes mutant fruit flies live twice as long… it’s an acronym for “I’m not dead yet”” (from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”).

8 Replies to “Funny Gene Names”

  1. My favorite is Sonic Hedgehog. I remember the days of Drosphila breeding…. maggots never looked so sexy!

    (btw, this is Katie H’s boy toy)

  2. He did indeed try to poutine, Beth. However, he preferred to call it something a bit more scandalous, warranting helpful pronunciation corrections from Sarah’s dad.

  3. Smac is a mitochondrial protein involved in apoptosis (i.e., you are a killer).

    I actually just Googled Smac ‘cuz I couldn’t remember what it did, and found this article… in which one of the authors is from The Smurfit Institute… Smurfit? No smurfing way!

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