If I’m ever reincarnated as a geneticist, I’ll discover some gene and give it some clever name that makes students remember it and enjoy studying it. It will not be some boring acronym standing for something like “Platelet-Derived Growth Factor” or provide some sort of functional description, like “Fibroblast Stimulating Factor-1.” Oh no. Not for me. I’ll pick something like the Hedgehog class of genes (named as such due to their mutancy causing short, spiky hairs on fruit flies). Of these, the most famous (and most important for embryological development) is, of course, Sonic hedgehog (Shh).
My current favorite, however, is quite possibly the cutest (or corniest) yet, depending on your mood. It and its homologues are necessary for proper development of the heart in animals ranging from insects to humans. Aptly, it’s of course named tinman, since mutants in the fruit fly population lack hearts. Ain’t that the greatest?