☆ (theidolhands) wrote in 1word1day,


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Sonic Hedgehog Homolog

Son·ic Hedge·hog Ho·mo·log (ˈsɒnɪkˈhɛdʒˌhɒgˈhəʊməʊlôg):
origin: coined by a scientist fond of Sega Genesis products. No, really.

Also known as SHH, it is one of three proteins, found in mammals, that send a chemical signal via a pathway family known as "hedgehog" (coined in 1980, for a prickly appearance). "Sonic" was added by another, to form the pun on the original label, as an identifier for presence of the hedgehog protein specifically in humans. SHH controls the formations of digits on limbs and formation of the brain, with errors resulting in severe mutation (notably: cyclopia).

Although NASA has very strict guidelines of what a person may name something, scientists studying proteins are more of the horse racing variety -- or maybe video game aficionado is more accurate!

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Tags: noun, s, scientific, wordsmith: theidolhands

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