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article imageNew Gaga fern genus named after mega pop star

By Greta McClain     Oct 25, 2012 in Science
Durham - When a scientist discovered a new genus of ferns, which is described as having a “somewhat fluid definitions of gender", she decided to name her new discovery "Gaga".
Kathleen Pryer, a Duke University biologist and director of the school’s herbarium, discovered the new fern genus. The genus contains 19 related fern species which can be found growing in Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
Fox News Latino reports that two species within the Gaga genus are new to science.
The Costa Rican Gaga germanotta is named in honor of the pop singer's given name, Stefani Germanotta. The species found in Mexico named Gaga monstraparva, which literally means monster-little, is named after Lady Gaga’s fans whom she calls “her little monsters”.
A Duke University graduate student analyzed the DNA sequence of the 19 genus members and found it spelled GAGA, which made naming the genus after the mega pop star a seemingly natural choice.
DNA sequence of the newly discovered Gaga fern genus
DNA sequence of the newly discovered Gaga fern genus
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Scientists also noted that during one stage of the plants life cycle, the genus Gaga ferns have a somewhat fluid definition of gender.
Trebuchet Magazine quotes Pryer as saying:
“The biology of these ferns is exceptionally obscure and blurred by sexual crossing between species. They have high numbers of chromosomes and asexuality that can lead to offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.”
According to Duke Today, the plant also bears a “striking resemblance" to one of Gaga’s famous consumes. The report notes that during her 2010 Grammy Awards performance, Lady Gaga wore a heart-shaped Armani Prive' costume with giant shoulders that looked exactly like a gametophyte, the bisexual reproductive stage of the ferns. According to Pryer, it was even the correct shade of light green. The way in which the fern extends its new leaves in a clenched little ball also reminded Pryer of Gaga's claw-like "paws up" salute to her fans.
Duke University s Kathleen Pryer discusses the resemblance of the Gaga fern to the greeting Lady Gag...
Duke University's Kathleen Pryer discusses the resemblance of the Gaga fern to the greeting Lady Gaga gives her fans.
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Pryer told the New York Times:
“We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression. And as we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice.”
Pryer, who said she and the other scientists on her team are Lady Gaga fans, went on to tell the Times:
“We think that her second album, ‘Born this Way,’ is enormously empowering, especially for disenfranchised people and communities like LGBT, ethnic groups, women — and scientists who study odd ferns!”
More about ferns, Plants, Lady Gaga, Duke university, genus
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