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
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]