In-tune with the latest pop music trends? Maybe, but scientists have named a newly discovered species of fern after the pop singer Lady Gaga.
It is not often that a pop singer adorns the science pages of the Digital Journal. There is a good reason, however. A new genus of ferns found in Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona and Texas, totaling 19 species, will carry the name Gaga. The DNA sequence for the ferns has been given the code GAGA, according to the Trebuchet.
This new Gaga group of ferns produce tiny spherical spores that drift to the ground and germinate into heart-shaped plants called gametophytes.
The reason for deciding to call the new species after the singer, as the research brief explains, was due to one of the species appearing similar to several of Gaga's famous costumes. In particular, Gaga’s a heart-shaped Armani Prive' costume with giant shoulders which was worn at the 2010 Grammy Awards served as inspiration for the scientist responsible for proposing the new name, Kathleen Pryer, a Duke University biology professor.
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 (which translates as “monster-little”). This is in honor of Gaga's fans, whom the singer calls “little monsters”.
Celebrity species are increasingly common in science. There's a California lichen named for President Barack Obama and a meat-eating jungle plant named for actress Helen Mirren. In January, an Australian horse fly was named for singer Beyonce.
The new Gaga species has been published in a science journal. The reference is:
Fay-Wei Li et al. Gaga, a New Fern Genus Segregated from Cheilanthes (Pteridaceae). Systematic Botany