Zit-causing bug bears Frank Zappa's name
Frank Zappa's name has been bestowed on jellyfish, spiders and an asteroid -- and now, an acne-causing bacterium.
February 18th, 2014
05:04 PM ET

Zit-causing bug bears Frank Zappa's name

In 1968, Rolling Stone reported on how Frank Zappa influenced the Beatles. Nearly 50 years later, Zappa has inspired scientists to name a acne-causing bug after him.

Sound weird? Actually, it’s not. All kinds of beetles (Steven Colbert, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld), plants (Princess Diana orchid, President Obama moss ) and animals (John Cleese's wooly lemur ) are just some of the organisms named after celebrities.

It’s also not the first time that a critter has been named in honor of Zappa. 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.

Now a group of Italian scientists report Tuesday  in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution that a pimple-causing bacterium found on humans hopped over and colonized grapevines more than 7,000 years ago. The authors named the bug P. Zappae in honor of the Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer of Italian descent.

In one of his most controversial songs, Zappa sung of wanting a Jewish princess with “sand-blasted zits.” He often referenced germs in his lyrics because he lived near a chemical warfare facility as a child. Despite these references, it’s unlikely that Zappa, who died in 1993, would have predicted having an influence on the field of microbiology.

Evolutionist Omar Rota-Stabelli was analyzing data the team had collected from bacteria on grapevines when he unexpectedly found the DNA from an acne-causing microbe on the plant. He thought it was a fluke.

Further analysis showed that the zit-causing bacterium had in fact found a new home in plant cells – the first evidence of a human-to-plant microbe transfer. (In case you were wondering, the plants don’t start breaking out.)

As Rota-Stabelli ran over to tell the team, he noticed the face of Zappa plastered on scientist Andrea Campisano’s computer background. Rota-Stabelli was inspired to stream Zappa’s songs; with “Bobby Brown” playing in the background, the scientists thought it was only natural to name the bacterium after something as unusual as it was – Frank Zappa.

"Frank Zappa was a very eccentric musician and somehow very unexpected in his behavior,” said Campisano, lead author of the research. “We really did not expect this (discovery) and we thought of him.”

Post by:
Filed under: Conditions • Germs

soundoff (770 Responses)
  1. Internet Marketing Ideas

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 9, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Social Media Marketing Job

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I genuinely thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 10, 2021 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Video Marketing Service

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 10, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Open plots in and around Hyderabad

    562029 36337But a smiling visitant here to share the enjoy (:, btw wonderful style and design . 119480

    May 10, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Digital Marketing Programs


    May 10, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Content Marketing Quote


    May 10, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Seo Marketing Job

    You are so interesting! I do not believe I've read through something like that before. So wonderful to find somebody with a few unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 11, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Internet Marketing Mentors


    May 11, 2021 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Internet Marketing Help

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 11, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Video Marketing Experts

    I'm more than happy to uncover this website. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff on your website.


    May 11, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Temika Delfavero

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs


    May 11, 2021 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Content Marketing Club


    May 11, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Local Marketing California

    This website really has all the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 11, 2021 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Technician Orange County

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 11, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. oc vacuum

    Right here is the right webpage for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    May 11, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. toy hauler upgrades

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 12, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    You are so cool! I do not believe I've truly read through anything like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 12, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv sales orange county

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.


    May 12, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv repair riverside

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!


    May 12, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Windows Orange County


    May 12, 2021 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Elnora Dembroski

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv interior remodeling

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 12, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. van conversions orange county ca

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Appreciate it!


    May 12, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. watch repair fullerton


    May 12, 2021 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. truck body shops near me


    May 12, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv camper repair near me

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 12, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. paint shops near me


    May 12, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. index of xvideos

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this in my search for something relating to this.


    May 12, 2021 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. rv parts and service near my location

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 12, 2021 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. truck box repair

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover somebody that genuinely understands what they're talking about online. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people should check this out and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.


    May 12, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. redtube co

    Good information. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 13, 2021 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. furniture repair orange county

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 13, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. orange county trailer

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.


    May 13, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Remodel Near Me

    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this website. Thanks!


    May 13, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mercedes Sprinter Sliding Door Track Repair


    May 13, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. truck shops in orange county

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is also very good.


    May 13, 2021 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv body shop near me


    May 13, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Mercedes Sprinter Brake Caliper Repair Kit


    May 13, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. oc ac repair

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new things you post…


    May 13, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. rv repairs near me


    May 13, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jesus Sheperd

    Would you be concerned about exchanging links?


    May 13, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. local rv repair shops


    May 13, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. motorhome repair shops near me

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 13, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Washing Los Angeles


    May 14, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. couch upholstery repair near me


    May 14, 2021 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Upgrades Orange County

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 14, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. houses for sale spokane river


    May 14, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Contact Eye Exam Near Me

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Eye Exam Phoenix

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your blog.


    May 14, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to Camper Van Repair


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.