Wed Oct 24, 2012, 08:59 AM
xchrom (105,667 posts)
Lady Gaga has new genus of plant named after her
Natural woman … Lady Gaga in London earlier this month. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Coty Beauty UK
Lady Gaga will be immortalised in the name of a newly identified genus of fern. Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina have given 19 different species of fern the genus "Gaga", in recognition of the singer's "fervent defence of equality and individual expression".
By honouring Lady Gaga in this way, the academics have doubtless paved the way for a series of fern-based costumes. Indeed, study leader Kathleen Pryer said the decision was inspired by Gaga's outfit at the 2010 Grammy awards: her heart-shaped Armani Primé getup apparently recalled the bisexual reproductive stage of these ferns. It was even, Pryer observed, the appropriate shade of green.
While 17 of the ferns are simply being recategorised from the genus Cheilanthes, two are new discoveries: Gaga germanotta, found in Costa Rica, has been baptised with a reference to the musician's real name; Gaga monstraparva, from Mexico, gets its moniker from the Latin for "little monster" – Gaga's term for her fans.
"As we started to consider , the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice," Pryer said. At least one species, for example, has the sequence "GAGA" among its DNA base pairs. The ferns also have "somewhat fluid definitions of gender" and can even self-fertilise to spawn a new fern.
19 New Ferns Named for Lady Gaga in Honor of Her Support for LGBT Equality: VIDEO
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/10/gagafern.html#ixzz2ADlJHaNa
Two of the species in the Gaga genus are new to science: Gaga germanotta from Costa Rica is named to honor the family of the artist, who was born Stefani Germanotta. And a newly discovered Mexican species is being dubbed Gaga monstraparva (literally monster-little) in honor of Gaga's fans, whom she calls "€ślittle monsters."
"We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression," said study leader Kathleen Pryer, a Duke University biology professor and director of the Duke Herbarium. "And as we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice."...
...Like most ferns, the Gaga group is "homosporous." They produce tiny spherical spores that drift to the ground and germinate into heart-shaped plants called gametophytes. These independent little organisms can be female, male or even bisexual, depending on growth conditions and what other kinds of gametophytes are around. When conditions are right, they exchange sperm between gametophytes, but when necessary they sometimes can also self-fertilize to produce a new fern.
"The biology of these ferns is exceptionally obscure and blurred by sexual crossing between species," Pryer said. "They have high numbers of chromosomes and asexuality that can lead to offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant."
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/10/gagafern.html#ixzz2ADlPF0Mf
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