An essential piece of trivia: what bacterium was named after a George Lucas invention?
An investigator discovers a new bacterium that lives in the mitochondria in tick ova. Can you guess what Star Wars organisms they’re named after?
Soon, Lo and his colleagues began looking for a name for their new genus, which proved easier said than done. The morphology of the organism didn’t present any immediate clues, and there weren’t any eminent tick bacterium researchers in whose honor it could be named.
So Lo started surfing the Web, looking for ideas and finding nothing until one link took him to a page on the Wikipedia Web site describing midichlorians. He discovered that George Lucas had invented these creatures while dreaming up his Star Wars movies. The mysterious intracellular organisms apparently reside within the cells of almost all living things and communicate with the Force.
“I quite liked the earlier Star Wars movies, but I’d never heard of these midichlorians before,” Lo explains. Although he’s not what you’d call a Star Wars fanatic, Lo began thinking perhaps he should name his real-life organism after the imaginary ones. After all, he says, “Art is often imitating science, but it doesn’t often go the other way.”
In May of this year, Lo and his colleagues submitted a paper to the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology suggesting that their new species be called Midichloria mitochondrii. They crossed their fingers and waited for the publishing process to take its course.
No word on the authors’ opinion regarding the controversy over the biological versus mystical nature of the Force, however.