Pimple-Causing Bug Named For Frank Zappa

We're used to hearing about musicians who've been influenced by Frank Zappa, but scientists!? Italian researchers have discovered "a microorganism that can switch from human skin to the bark of grape vines." According to a report in the L.A. Times, the researchers have dubbed the formerly pimple-causing bacterium "P. acnes Zappae" after the late great Frank Zappa.

Microbiologist Andrea Campisano of the Edmund Mach Foundation is a huge Zappa fan, who according to the Times "played Zappa’s music regularly and kept a quote from the genre-bending rock musician displayed on his computer screen in the laboratory: 'If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television … then you deserve it."

The discovery of "P. acnes Zappae" is a big one in the scientific community as according to Campisano, “This is the first time it’s been found that a microorganism can switch from a human to a plant.” The Campisano team's study was published yesterday in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. KTUU notes this isn't the first time Zappa's name has been used for discoveries, "Forty years ago, a mollusk extinct for 300 million years ago was named Amaurotoma zappa; a quarter century ago, a new genus of fish was named Zappa. The Zappa name has also been bestowed upon jellyfish and spiders. Astronomers even named an asteroid 3834 Zappafrank after the rock legend."

Congrats Frank - this bug's for you.

[Published on: 2/19/14]

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