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. Local Marketing Agencies Near Me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your web site.


    May 22, 2021 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Local Marketing Near Me


    May 22, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Agency Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to come back yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 22, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Alignment Los Angeles


    May 22, 2021 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Lighting Los Angeles

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    May 23, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Soosteemocush

    tadalafil tadalafil blood pressure side effects of tadalafil https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 23, 2021 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Camera Near Me


    May 23, 2021 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. brimonidine

    brimonidine brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic

    May 23, 2021 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tausAffessy

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ side effects for tadalafil side effects for tadalafil where to get tadalafil cost tadalafil generic

    May 24, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Video Marketing Consultant


    May 24, 2021 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Remodel Riverside


    May 24, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Maintenance Orange County

    Hello, I do think your site could possibly be having browser compatibility problems. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great blog!


    May 24, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Generator Riverside

    You're so cool! I do not think I've read through something like this before. So wonderful to discover someone with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!


    May 24, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. furniture refinishers orange county ca


    May 24, 2021 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rv and camper repair near me


    May 24, 2021 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Shower Riverside

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


    May 24, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. tausAffessy

    tadalafil cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil canada generic tadalafil https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – generic cialis online fast shipping

    May 24, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Social Media Marketing Market


    May 24, 2021 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Forklift Parts


    May 25, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Digital Marketing Firm

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉


    May 25, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. SEO Marketing Companies Near Me

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this in my search for something relating to this.


    May 25, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Digital Marketing Firm


    May 25, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Consultants Near Me


    May 25, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Forklift Rental Los Angeles

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 25, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Google Marketing Agencies

    Hey there! I just wish to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.


    May 25, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Consultants


    May 25, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Soosteemocush

    best price usa tadalafil side effects for tadalafil what is tadalafil https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Social Media Marketing Firms Near Me

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 25, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. avana

    buy avana online avana

    May 25, 2021 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Content Marketing Agencies

    I was able to find good information from your content.


    May 25, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Soosteemocush

    tadalafil daily online https://cttadalafil.com/ – cialis without a prescription tadalafil cost walmart generic tadalafil from uk https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Internet Marketing Business


    May 25, 2021 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tritreviewifind

    side effects of tadalafil https://tadalafilol.com/ tadalafil generic where to buy tadalafil goodrx generic tadalafil from uk

    May 25, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. paint a horse trailer

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    May 26, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. combigan

    generic combigan brimonidine tartrate 2%

    May 26, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. tausAffessy

    tadalafil cost walmart tadalafil order online no prescription cost tadalafil generic cialis at canadian pharmacy https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Batteries Riverside

    I really like it when individuals get together and share views. Great website, continue the good work!


    May 26, 2021 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv camper repair near me


    May 26, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. combigan

    generic brimonidine brimonidine tartrate 2%

    May 26, 2021 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Seats Near Me


    May 26, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Mechanics Riverside


    May 27, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Tires Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Soosteemocush

    where to buy generic cialis online safely https://tadalafilol.com/ where to buy generic cialis online safely tadalafil online with out prescription tadalafil cost in canada

    May 27, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Social Media Marketing Business


    May 27, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. certified rv repair


    May 27, 2021 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Dashboard California

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


    May 27, 2021 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. berita bola liga inggris

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your
    point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw
    away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be
    giving us something enlightening to read?

    Feel free to visit my page ... berita bola liga inggris

    May 27, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv glass repair near me

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.


    May 27, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Soosteemocush

    tadalafil online canada generic tadalafil what is tadalafil https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Alignment Orange County


    May 27, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to Internet Marketing Service


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.