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. Best Dentist Clinic

    Right here is the right website for anybody who wishes to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that's been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 18, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. goal setting coach

    You made some good points there. I checked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 18, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cheap Dental Orange County


    May 18, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. best over the counter energy pills

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.


    May 18, 2021 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 2014 Maserati Quattroporte


    May 19, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Internet Marketing Consultants

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


    May 19, 2021 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Vision Glasses Near Me

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely thought you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    May 19, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Roofing And Siding Companies Near Me

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


    May 19, 2021 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. consumable gifts for mom

    Great post! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 19, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Freightline Sprinter Repair

    You have made some good points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    May 19, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Renovation Los Angeles

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 19, 2021 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. solar panels orange county

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    May 19, 2021 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Caryn Naomi

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren't loading correctly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.


    May 19, 2021 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Content Marketing Experts


    May 20, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Agency


    May 20, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Digital Marketing Experts

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 20, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Content Marketing Specialist

    Excellent article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 20, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. SEO Marketing Agencies


    May 20, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. chloroquineorigin

    chloroquine hydrochloride https://chloroquineorigin.com/ tendances du coronavirus – france buy chloroquine phosphate buy aralen online uk

    May 20, 2021 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Local Marketing Companies


    May 20, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Bedroom Riverside

    You are so awesome! I don't suppose I have read through anything like that before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 20, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. collision experts lemon grove

    You're so awesome! I don't think I have read anything like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!


    May 20, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Inspection Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Frame Riverside


    May 20, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Cabinet Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. cyclomune

    buy cyclosporine usa buy cyclosporine uk

    May 21, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv interior furniture

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


    May 21, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sprinter Window Regulator Repair


    May 21, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. camera repair california

    Good web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 21, 2021 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. cyclomune

    cyclosporine medication cyclomune eye drops 1%

    May 21, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair


    May 21, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Restoration Los Angeles

    I really like it when folks get together and share ideas. Great site, stick with it!


    May 21, 2021 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Agency

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!


    May 21, 2021 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rv floor repair cost

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to publish more about this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but generally folks don't talk about such subjects. To the next! All the best!!


    May 21, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Driver Seats Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Flooring Los Angeles


    May 21, 2021 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Washing Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. cheap louboutin red bottoms replica

    839337 261599I really glad to discover this web site on bing, just what I was seeking for : D as effectively saved to favorites . 901690

    May 21, 2021 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Kitchen Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. chloroquineorigin

    https://chloroquineorigin.com/ hydroxychloroquine sulfate corona arechin chloroquine cancer buy chloroquine phosphate

    May 21, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. tv repair orange county ca

    Good article! We are linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 21, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. remodeling motorhome interior


    May 21, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Internet Marketing Services

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    May 21, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. SEO Marketing Company


    May 22, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Company Near Me

    This excellent website truly has all the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 22, 2021 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Internet Marketing Near Me

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 22, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Camera Riverside

    You are so cool! I do not believe I have read through anything like that before. So wonderful to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 22, 2021 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. trailer repair service near me


    May 22, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Driver Seats Riverside


    May 22, 2021 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. brimonidine

    buy generic brimonidine brimonidine

    May 22, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


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.