Cardiac gene names get a heart-y laugh

Nicholas Wade of The New York Times has a little fun with the names scientists give genes when they're discovered in lab animals. Hippo, Warts, Merlin, Yorkie, Scalloped, Shaggy, Frizzled, Dishevelled and Mob are just a few. They have to do with genes that work together to prevent the heart from growing new heart muscle cells. Learn how these work, and there will be a "renaissance of interest in the genetics of cardiac muscle growth control because of the potential therapeutic applications," according to one researcher. Of course, once these colorfully named genes are found in humans, they'll be back to dull monikers like MST1. "Human geneticists," Wade writes, "are even more fearful that colorful gene names will create an aura of frivolity that discourages serious grant money." Story