New fern species named after Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga, her music and her memorable outfits have inspired many things - but a fern?

Yes, the pop singer is getting a fern species named after her.

Researchers at Duke University are using Gaga's name to describe a new genus of ferns found in Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona and Texas; 19 species of ferns will now carry the name "Gaga." Others will hold names based on other Gaga-isms. There's "Gaga germanotta," based on the singer's real name, Stefani Germanotta, and "Gaga monstraparva," which means monster-little.

"We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression," study leader and Duke biology professor Kathleen Pryer said in a news release. "And as we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice."

It was Gaga's outfit at the 2010 Grammy Awards that really hit home for the botanists. Her heart-shaped outfit, designed by Armani Prive,  looked "exactly like the bisexual reproductive stage of the ferns, called a gametophyte," Pryer says.

Another reason to name the fern species after Gaga? "At one stage of its life, the new genus Gaga has somewhat fluid definitions of gender," explains the release. "And members of the new genus also bear a distinct DNA sequence spelling GAGA."

Pryer, herself, is a Gaga fan and says the scientists often play the pop star's music while conducting research.

"We think that her second album, 'Born this Way,' is enormously empowering, especially for disenfranchised people and communities like LGBT, ethnic groups, women -- and scientists who study odd ferns!" Pryer said.

Gaga isn't the only name to infiltrate the science world.

President Barack Obama has a California lichen named for him, and earlier this year, scientists named an Australian "bootylicious" horse fly after Beyonce.

There's no word on how Lady Gaga feels about being named after a fern, but we have hunch she doesn't mind.

For more on the Gaga species, check out the video below from Duke University:

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