Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 00:31:27 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Pyrin vs. Marenostrin (new words duel!)
What's wrong with this picture? Here's the idiot test of the century,
courtesy of the New York Times, 22 August 1997, pg. A 19, cols. 3-6:
Gene of Mideast Ancestor May Link 4 Disparate Peoples
By NICHOLAS WADE
Several thousand years ago, somewhere in the Middle East, there lived a
person who bequeathed a particular gene to many present-day descendants. But
those millions of now distant relatives could not convincingly be called one
happy family. They include Jews, Arabs, Turks and Armenians.
The gene, a variant of a gene that controls fever, has come to light
because it causes an unusual disease called familial Mediterranean fever in
people who inherit a copy from both parents. The gene's presence among a
surprising group of populations hints at the rich archeology that lies buried
in the human genome, once geneticists and historians have learned how to
Two rival teams of scientists in France and the United States have been
racing to isolate the gene for a year. The race finished today, with the
American team announcing its finding in the journal Cell, the French team in
The American team has named the gene pyrin, from the Greek word for
fire, after its role in fever; the French team calls it marenostrin after the
Latin "Our Sea," a Roman phrase for the Mediterranean. The race could be
considered a dead heat, although the American team has recovered the whole
gene, the French team just a major portion. (...)
Again I ask--what's wrong with this picture?
Five seconds. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Time's up.
Think about it. You're naming an ancestor for Jews, Arabs, Turks, and
Armenians. The name (and the language) you choose should be significant to
all of these groups. So you choose a word that comes from--
DID ACTUAL THINKING GO INTO THIS?
Think about it! You go to Turkey and you declare, "Hi, guys! We found
the gene that's an ancestor for all of the Turks! We're so happy, WE'RE
USING A GREEK NAME!!"
Or you go to Israel and you say, "Shalom! We found the gene that could
go back to Abraham! We're so happy, WE'RE USING A LATIN NAME!!"
Granted, a good deal of English and French use both Latin and Greek.
But did anyone--ANYONE--consider that Latin and Greek MIGHT be considered
inappropriate for Jews, Arabs, Turks and Armenians?
Didn't the writer of the article ask anybody this question? I guess
Wouldn't you want to use proto-Hebrew?
A great many Ph.D.'s worked a year, and I'm the only person to think of
COULD SOMEONE PLEASE NOMINATE THIS FOR THE ONOMASTIC HALL OF