Sonic the Hedgehog Oddities

Sonic the Gene

In the early 1990s, Sonic made a strange leap into the world of science when researchers Cliff Tabin, Andy Mahon and Phil Ingham discovered that a previously unnamed member of the hedgehog gene family was responsible for creating limb symmetry in animals. The trio named the gene “sonic hedgehog” after the Sega video game character.

In 2007, the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (which establishes the official names for human genes) voted to change the name of sonic hedgehog and other whimsically-named genes that have become an embarrassment when doctors need to discuss genetic problems with their patients.

(Protein Illustation: Peter Znamenskiy)


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  1. Max June 23, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    You cant go wrong with an article about sega that includes reference to Steve Urkel 🙂

  2. guest June 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    This trivia is very cool. But have many people actually played the original Sonic recently? Give it a try and then read this and see if you don't agree:

  3. Esteban June 25, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    My favorite bit of Sonic weirdness? The Sonic / Harry Potter / Barack Obama backpack: