One of my personal favorite protein names is Mothers Against Decapentaplegic. As with most of the funny gene names it was coined by drosophila researchers.
As a Sonic fan since the early 90s, this makes me happy.
This made my day.
I can't imagine being placed in this position where I may have to occasionally abbreviate the name of this protein SHH. Very difficult, just awful. Not welcome!
Sometimes doctors get offended at having to explain what's going on to the patient. Those are bad doctors.
I didn't mean it that way. It's all about using an appropriate language and level of detail for each person. It's fun to talk about how Sonic the Hedgehog was immortalized in the human genome here on HN but in a clinical setting it's ultimately irrelevant and counterproductive.
Some people are curious and ask lots of questions. Many will be confused and tune you out completely if you start explaining technical stuff. It's the doctor's job to help them understand so they can make informed decisions. This is accomplished by tailoring the message to each recipient.
For example ships can’t have fun names because they occasionally sink?
My wife joined the board of the Gorlin's Syndrome Alliance, which is a non-profit organization that helps people with this disease find help, and also tries to push medical science forward in ways that can help. Their mascot is a hedgehog (for obvious reasons) wearing a hat - because people who have this condition have to avoid UV exposure all the time. If you're interested, please check them out: https://gorlinsyndrome.org/ (Currently suffering slow server).
A bit of whimsy isn't the worst thing, when the news is otherwise pretty hard.
"Hey Timmy, we got our results back, and we found out you have the Sonic the Hedgehog gene. It might be scary but if you can be as brave and tough as Sonic everyone will be very proud of you."
Try to remember what it is like to be a child.
This is actual experience from clinicians working in genetic counseling.
I am still embarrassed for you.
Less than a year ago I was told I had a C6 and C7 fracture, a manubrial fracture, a scapular fracture, a few metacarpal fractures, rib fractures, a splenic laceration.
Despite the Corvette C6 and C7 being some of my favourite cars, when I was eventually discharged I could not find it in me to take my AR-15 to SF Gen and unleash retribution for the horrendous crime the doctors had done to me. In addition, a man ubrial fracture? So I'm not a man anymore?! Ugh. Urge to kill rising!
You know, the one who delights schoolchildren and exasperates astronomers.
One of the lessons we've learned since the 90s is that cute names (for genes, proteins, servers, programming languages, etc.) can be inadvertently problematic or made retroactively problematic, and are better off avoided.
I have proposed the use of "marginalizing" as a replacement for "offensive" in the sense of "reinforces systemic biases against certain groups of people", after I saw character on a British procedural say "Don't call somebody 'hot' or 'a lush'; it's marginalising."
There are good reasons why the process went to committee
but "shh" (for zebrafish) was not it.
Also when you think 'researcher'; in some cases it may
help to picture collage students between parties.