The choice of a gene name can have unforeseen consequences in addition to infringement of trademark (“Pokémon blocks gene name” Nature 438, 897; 2005). The quirky sense of humour that researchers display in choosing a gene name often loses much in translation when people facing serious illness or disability are told that they or their child have a mutation in a gene such as Sonic hedgehog, Slug or Pokemon.

As with the acronym CATCH22 (from ‘cardiac anomaly, T-cell deficit, clefting and hypocalcaemia’) for chromosome 22q11.2 microdeletions, which was abandoned because of its no-win connotations (J. Burn J. Med. Genet. 36, 737–738; 1999), researchers need to be mindful when naming genes and syndromes.