Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Humour of gene names lost in translation to patients

Sir

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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Maclean, K. Humour of gene names lost in translation to patients. Nature 439, 266 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/439266d

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing