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Duke Scientists Reinvent Lady Gaga as a Fern, Give Her Her Own Plant Species

While winning a Grammy carries less and less clout by the year, there are still some honors a musician can achieve that actually mean something — the honors just happen to have nothing to do with music and everything to do with plant life. Scientists at Duke University have recently named 19 species of fern for Mama Monster herself Lady Gaga after having been inspired by a leafy green outfit that the singer wore to a 2010 awards show.

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Says Duke University biology professor and study leader Melissa Leo Kathleen Pryer:

"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."

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In addition to Gaga's green costume, Pryer also cites the fern's bisexuality and claw-like shape as a good reason to use Gaga as a namesake, saying, "All Lady Gaga fans know how to greet each other. It's called the claw. A young leaf, as it begins to unfurl, assumes almost the identical posture."

Then, of course, there's the discovery by grad student Fay-Wei Li who scanned the DNA for the new genus, finding that "GAGA spelled out in the DNA base pairs as a signature that distinguishes this group of ferns from all others."

Gaga germanotta is among the 19 Gaga-dubbed ferns. The plant is primarily found in Costa Rica, though it might be hard to identify thanks to its ever-evolving/won't-wear-the-same-thing-twice image — last science checked, it was said to be going through a bit of a lobster shoe phase.

Nineteen Species of Fern Named for Lady Gaga [Duke Today]

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DISCUSSION

I'm a grad student in plant sciences, and I can honestly say that the Fame Monster keeping me pumped through all-nighters was a key reason I finished my undergraduate thesis. I also wondered half way through if 'GAGA' was a prominent part of the sequencing/speciation of the genus....AND IT WAS. That lady prof is also a badass and I want to be as enthusiastic as her when I'm at that point in my career.

Basically, I love this news segment.