Some fruit-fly genes have names like these:
Groucho Marx: A fruit fly that produces an excess of facial bristles.
Cheap Date: A fruit fly that expresses high sensitivity to alcohol.
Ken and Barbie: Fruit flies that fail to develop external genitalia.
I’m Not Dead Yet: INDY for short, these are fruit flies who live longer than usual. [NPR explains where this came from, like you don’t know if you’re reading this blog]
Harmless enough, you’d think, but:
Since it’s increasingly likely some fruit fly genes will show up in humans, Dr. [Murray] Feingold [a Massachusetts clinician who treats people with genetic diseases] warns it will not be possible for doctors to hide a scientific name like “I’m Not Dead Yet.”…
And for a doctor, these names become embarrassing “when that gene becomes responsible for some kind of medical problem and I have to tell that patient, ‘Well, I’m sorry things don’t look so good because you have [the] I’m Not Dead Yet gene.'”
So it’s not just PC run amok, but a curious case study in the democratization of information. Your take?
[The immortal Julius Marx: Wikimedia Commons]