Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Proteins Was Named Based On The Part Of The Body It Affects?

Noggin (NOG)
Scalpin (SCP)
Legsin (LGS)
Shinsin (SHN)
An 1899 illustration of a skull from the book Man's Place in Nature.
Thomas Henry Huxley/Wikimedia

Answer: Noggin (NOG)

Noggin is a term of indeterminate origin and made its first written appearance as a reference to a person’s head in American English around 1866. Not only is it a slang term, but also a scientific term related, not uncoincidentally, to the body part it refers to.

After Richard M. Harland and William C. Smith, working at the University of California, Berkeley discovered a protein responsible for a myriad of developmental functions in the body, including—rather critically—the development of the palate, mandible, and skulls of babies and infants, the name of the protein was, well, a no-brainer. Given the importance of the protein and the role it plays, they named it “Noggin” after the slang term for head.

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