Scientists go Gaga over new ferns

  • Updated: October 27, 2012 - 4:01 PM
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Lady Gaga, center, performs at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, in Los Angeles.

Photo: Matt Sayles, Associated Press - Ap

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She boasts a closetful of Emmy, Grammy and MTV music awards, but Lady Gaga just collected a more scientific honor: 19 species of ferns were named in her honor. To a team of Duke scientists, a new genus of the plants growing between South America and Texas bears an uncanny likeness to the green, glittery, heart-shaped costume the songstress wore to the 2010 Grammys. Two of the species are new to science, classified for the first time. And sticking with the theme, the Duke team -- led by biology professor Kathleen Pryer -- gave them glam-inspired titles: Gaga germanotta (shown at left) for the singer's last name, and Gaga monstraparva, which translates roughly to "little monsters," a nickname she gave her fans. One other element cinched the name: A grad student scanned the ferns' DNA -- and found the base pairs spelled out G-A-G-A in genetic lingo. The study appears in Systematic Botany.

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