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My favorite silly gene names

sithisit:

jtotheizzoe:

On the heels of this post detailing the adorable story of the hedgehog gene, here’s some more of my favorite silly gene names, and the mutant reasons their redonkulous names:

  • tinman - Mutants do not develop a heart (Fruit fly)
  • dreadlocks - Causes photoreceptors to sprout dreadlock-like axon projections (Fruit fly)
  • tribbles - Causes out of control cell division (Fruit fly)
  • maggie - Larvae never mature (Fruit fly)
  • hamlet - Affects a type of sensory cell called “IIB” (Fruit fly)
  • dunce - Affects learning and memory (Fruit fly)
  • smaug - Represses Nanos, which means “dwarf” (Fruit fly)
  • groucho - Excessive bristles on the face (Fruit fly)
  • ken and barbie - Lack of external genitalia (Fruit fly)
  • indy - Stands for “I’m not dead yet”, a la Monty Python (Fruit fly)
  • lush and cheap date - Affect alcohol metabolism (Fruit fly)
  • RING - A protein segment that comes from “really interesting new gene”
  • tigger and pogo - Two families of transposable elements, or pieces of DNA that can jump around genomes (Multiple species)
  • kryptonite and superman - Kryptonite represses superman, which causes extra stamens to form in flowers (Arabadopsis)
  • Yuri gagarin - Protein involved in sensing gravity (Fruit fly)
  • callipyge - Leads to formation of large, round buttocks in sheep (from Greek for “beautiful buttocks”)
  • chablis, frascati, merlot, retsina, riesling, cabernet, grenache, chardonnay, chianti, pinotage, sauternes, weissherbst, zinfandel - A set of genes found to inhibit blood cell formation. Get it? Red and white?! (Zebrafish)

I think these would make an excellent art project, all you artistically-and-scientifically inclined people out there. Any of your favorites that I missed?

  • paintbrush - involved in pigmentation expression (Drosophila) 
  • MAD-MAX - not actually genes (protein complex), but too cool to pass up. (humans)
  • Frizzled/Smoothened/Dishevelled - regulate the appearance of fruit fly wings and body/wing hair placement, among other things (conserved) 

theolduvaigorge:

Primate energy expenditure and life history

  • by Herman Pontzer, David A. Raichlen, Adam D. Gordon, Kara K. Schroepfer-Walker, Brian HareMatthew C. O’Neill, Kathleen M. Muldoon, Holly M. Dunsworth, Brian M. Wood, Karin Isler, Judith Burkart, Mitchell Irwin, Robert W. Shumaker, Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf and Stephen R. Ross 

Humans and other primates are distinct among placental mammals in having exceptionally slow rates of growth, reproduction, and aging. Primatesslow life history schedules are generally thought to reflect an evolved strategy of allocating energy away from growth and reproduction and toward somatic investment, particularly to the development and maintenance of large brains. Here we examine an alternative explanation: that primatesslow life histories reflect low total energy expenditure (TEE) (kilocalories per day) relative to other placental mammals. We compared doubly labeled water measurements of TEE among 17 primate species with similar measures for other placental mammals. We found that primates use remarkably little energy each day, expending on average only 50% of the energy expected for a placental mammal of similar mass. Such large differences in TEE are not easily explained by differences in physical activity, and instead appear to reflect systemic metabolic adaptation for low energy expenditures in primates. Indeed, comparisons of wild and captive primate populations indicate similar levels of energy expenditure. Broad interspecific comparisons of growth, reproduction, and maximum life span indicate that primatesslow metabolic rates contribute to their characteristically slow life histories” (read more/ open access).

(Open access source: PNAS, in press 2014 via Duke University; top image: Red Orbit)

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