Weird news: New species of ferns named after Lady Gaga

The plants contain a "GAGA" DNA sequence

By Prachi Gupta

Published October 23, 2012 6:55PM (EDT)

A group of scientists have named a newly discovered genus of ferns after the pop star Lady Gaga. “We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression," said Professor Kathleen Pryer of Duke University, co-author of a paper describing the new genus. “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!”

Like Gaga advocates, the plants break sexual boundaries, too: “The biology of these ferns is exceptionally obscure and blurred by sexual crossing between species,” Pryer said. “They have high numbers of chromosomes and asexuality that can lead to offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.” The plant also resembles one of Lady Gaga's outfits, the scientists note, and contains the "GAGA" DNA sequence.

The group has named two species within the genus "Gaga germanotta," based on Lady Gaga's real name, Stefani Germanotta, and "Gaga monstraparva," a shout-out to the singers' fans, whom she calls "little monsters."



Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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