New Fern Species Named for Lady Gaga

Duke University botanists pay tribute with plants

October 24, 2012 10:00 AM ET
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Coty Beauty UK

Botanists at Duke University have named a newly identified genus of fern, and consequently 19 species within the genus, after Lady Gaga, the New York Times reports. The fern, found in Arizona, Texas, Mexico and Central and South America, has "somewhat fluid definitions of gender," as it reproduces by spores that can grow to be male, female or both. A graduate student also found the sequence GAGA in the fern's DNA base pairs. The science behind the ferns inspired the botanists.

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"We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression," said Kathleen Pryer, director of Duke's herbarium and professor of biology. "And as we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice."

Among the more eye-popping fern names are Gaga germanotta – a nod to the singer's real name, Stefani Germanotta – and Gaga monstraparva, which translates to "Gaga little monster," an acknowledgement of Gaga's dedicated "little monster" fanbase.

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