References to Sonic in medicine

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The following is a list of references to Sonic in medicine.


The medical field will sometimes give names to newly-discovered biological components which reference movies, music, and video games. Due to Sonic the Hedgehog's widespread familiarity, a variant of the hedgehog gene was given the title sonic hedgehog in 1994, and subsequently received a significant amount of press coverage - introducing the general public to the concept of "named genes" (such as the later pikachurin.) While some controversy surrounded these references - particularly, concern over situations where patients were told their condition was the result of a "frivolous-sounding" name - the argument has largely died down, and genes are still occasionally named for famous video game characters.

Name Type Discovery date Description Images
Sonic hedgehog Protein 1993/1994 A protein which serves as a signaling molecule, and the key in regulating embryonic morphogenesis in all different types of animals.[1] Originally, the hedgehog genetic family earned its name from its bristled appearance. When the specific gene was isolated, a Tabin Lab postdoctoral fellow named Robert Riddle decided to append the name Sonic to the newly-discovered protein. According to Riddle, he thought up the reference after his wife came home with a magazine containing an advert for Sonic the Hedgehog.[2] References Sonichedgehoggene Medicine.png
Robotnikinin Protein inhibitor 2009-03 A potential inhibitor of the Sonic hedgehog signaling pathway, named in reference to the original Western name of Sonic's long-time nemesis, Dr. Robotnik.[3] References Robotnikiningene Medicine.png