Forget Chia Pets This Christmas. It's Time for the Gaga Fern!
A recently discovered genus of fern has a new stage name, thanks to students at Duke University. After examining the plant's DNA, researchers found the letters GAGA among its base pairs, a unique identifier for the genus. Further study into the plant's characteristics led the team to determine they were on the right path to naming the whole genus after the popular singer.
The fern, which grows in Central and South America, Mexico, and in the United States, has 19 different members in its genus, all which will now bear the Gaga name in various forms.
"We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression," said Kathleen Pryer, who lead the plant study at Duke University. Pryer is a biology professor and director of the Duke Herbarium. "As we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice."
Indeed. On top of the unique DNA sequencing, the ferns tend to have a very 'fluid' interpretation of sexuality, as is projected both by Gaga and those she tends to bring into her onstage performances. The ferns also look like Gaga, having a reproductive gametophyte shaped similarly to an Armani Prive' dress she wore while performing a medley of songs with Sir Elton John at the 2010 Grammy Awards. See for yourself in this video...
Pryer admits that she and her students often listen to Gaga's music while performing work. "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!" said Pryer.
The altogether newly discovered Costa Rican variety of the fern is to be known as Gaga germanotta — Gaga was born Stefani Germanotta. The Mexican variety, also newly found, will bear the name Gaga monstraparva. Monstraparva literally means "monster little", of course after Gaga's fan base, which she refers to as "little monsters".
I suppose even little ferns can be born this way...
Video courtesy YouTube, images courtesy Duke University