24 September 2009

Naming Genes: What's in a Name?

In 1594, Juliet asserted in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and certainly words have layers of meanings and associations that not only Shakespeare could devise. And so it is with those naming genes, on the forefront of which are those looking at fly genes, particularly of Drosophila in FlyBase. In this delightful report from the BBC World Service's Discovery, we find out what these scientists are really thinking about as they sort through piles of flies, looking for visual verification of potential genetic anomalies: how might they name their next big discovery. Traditions are born in various laboratories for the sometimes quirky, usually informative names bestowed upon new discoveries--will the gene naming equivalant of the Académie française clamp down on this populist movement? The fly geneticists say no!

Thanks to Karyla for this great find!!

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